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“Judicial Hellhole” Report is a PR Stunt

Late last year our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers shared our thoughts on the so-called “Judicial Hellhole” report-a piece of fiction put out each year by a tort reform group seeking to demean the judicial system. Most publications advanced by those hoping to take away rights of negligence victims seek to make headlines and bullet points that have little connection to actual fact and honest argument about the role of the judicial system in the lives of victims and embedded in our national history. This report is no exception.

Last week, the president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association had an article published in the State Journal-Register that outlined the problems with this latest report. He explained how the report is simply another facet of the distraction tactics deployed by those involved in tort “reform” efforts-away from victims’ rights toward red herrings. As ITLA President Jerry Latherow explained, this “report” is nothing more than a repackaged editorial based on junk research that has little to no basis in fact. It is only because of the sensational name and wild claims that it gets media attention-which is all that its creators hope to get out of the effort. At the end of the day the report does nothing more than distract the public from the real point of tort reform-taking rights away from community members so that corporations do not have to be held accountable in a court of law when they do wrong. These efforts have very real effects on victims of Illinois medical malpractice (and all medical patients). They need to be fought against tooth and nail.

Latherow takes apart the false rhetoric of the opposition, noting that wildly inaccurate connections made by those issuing the report. For some reason the argument is still being peddled that allowing negligence victims-like those hurt by medical malpractice-to have access to a court and jury someone means that vast economic damage will come to the state. Of course, this ignores the basic fact that access to the jury system is a fundamentally right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, having being around in English-speaking nations for centuries. It is the tort reformers who are demanding changes, not the other way around.

The facts are much less hysterical than the claims. For example, a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that fear of litigation was not anywhere on the list of issues that local businesses find important when deciding where to build. Jobs are not being held back because of lawsuits. Instead, the survey found that concerns about taxes, energy prices, and labor costs and availability were the factors that influenced where new businesses were set down.

The corporations that fund and propagate these messages are doing so because it will help their bottom line. It is that simple. Claims about frivolous lawsuits are made because they make headlines, but those claims are false. The judicial system itself screens out lawsuits that have no merit. Even then, most lawsuits are actually filed by businesses against other businesses. Any Chicago medical malpractice lawyer knows, therefore, that the main fear among those pushing these ridiculous reports, is being held responsible for actual meritorious claims when they act irresponsibly.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Suggest Latest “Judicial Hellhole” Designation Distracts from Real Issues

Big Business Attempts to Take Away Legal Rights

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