The Madison County scent

That was quite an editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The scent of fish in Madison County finally reached the noses of the Illinois Supreme Court judges. It’s about time. The court should crack down on venue rules that make Madison County a Mecca for plaintiff’s lawyers and a ‘judicial hellhole’ for corporations.” (“Plug the hellhole”, Sept. 19). See Kevin McDermott, “Penchant for attracting class-action suits is damaging business climate, petition says”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 9 (industry and legal experts petition for venue rules restricting plaintiffs from strategic selection of Madison County). A ruling last month has lawyers on both sides hopeful/fearful that venue reform may be coming in Illinois: “In a case involving a 1997 collision in Macoupin County between a truck of Union Pacific Railroad and a tractor of a private individual, the justices overturned lower court rulings that the case be heard in Madison County. The Supreme Court said a judge must consider more than just where a plaintiff would like the case heard. Judges must also weigh other factors, such as where the event that led to the suit occurred and where the parties live or work.” (Trisha L. Howard, “High court orders case moved from Madison County”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aug. 21) (see recent John Stossel coverage, and our earlier coverage).

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