February 26, 2013 Articles

Has the Asbestos Gravy Train Reached the End of the Line in Illinois?

By David A. Lester

Illinois has long been a hotbed of asbestos litigation. Most of those lawsuits are filed in Madison County, where more than 25 percent of the country’s asbestos cases are pending. In 2012, the American Tort Reform Foundation ranked Madison County as the number-three “judicial hellhole” in the nation. The report noted that 1,563 asbestos lawsuits were filed in Madison County in 2012, which represented an increase of 600 cases from 2011. Only 10 percent of those cases were filed by Madison County residents. Madison County’s neighbor to the south, St. Clair County, has recently joined Madison County as a forum of choice for plaintiff lawyers in asbestos cases. From 2009 to 2010, St. Clair County experienced a 1,250 percent increase in asbestos filings. In other words, asbestos is big business in southwest Illinois. However, a recent ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court may put an end to these asbestos dockets.

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