Cook County made the list...
The American Tort Reform Assn. on Tuesday identified Cook County as one of six jurisdictions most unfair for those who are sued.
It was the sixth year the group put out the report; Cook County also was on it in 2005 and 2006. The report, which identified six so-called “judicial hellholes,” was released Tuesday.
Cook County was singled out because of its “disproportionate number of large civil cases.”
“Personal injury lawyers know that Cook County is the place to be, and this year they blew into the Windy City to file massive class actions involving pet food and peanut butter, as well as many asbestos cases,” the report said.
Bruce Kohen, president of the Illinois Trial Laywers Assn., disputed the validity of the report and called it a “public relations stunt” engineered by a group with a specific political agenda. He called the report “subjective” and said ATRA was “arbitrary” in choosing the places on the list.
“It’s not much different than asking a convicted criminal to evaluate the criminal justice system,” Mr. Kohen said. “What would you expect?”
A spokesman for ATRA backed the organization’s methodology, which he said was based on research and interviews that started with a survey sent out to group members and others familiar with “judicial hellholes” from previous years.
“We call out jurisdictions where both parties don’t get a fair shake,” an ATRA spokesman said.
Madison County, a fixture on the list since its 2002 debut, was gone from this year’s report, but not forgotten. The Downstate Illinois county, which saw more class action lawsuits in 2004 than any other jurisdiction in the nation, was placed on ATRA’s watch list.
St. Clair County, which has been on the “hellholes” list since 2004, was also put on the watch list.
The 2007 “Judicial Hellholes” are:
Rio Grand Valley and Gulf Coast, Texas.
Clark County, Nevada.
Atlantic County, N.J.