The three bills that the Illinois Senate ran from the governor's Turnaround Agenda failed to get out of committee. The reputation of Illinois – particularly Madison County – as a haven for jackpot-seeking plaintiffs led to tort reform being one of the governor's priorities. The measure – limiting venue-shopping and addressing who should be liable (a point the lawyers call joint and several liability) – failed on a party line vote.
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“What we are seeking is balance,” said the sponsor, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont). “Of course we want to compensate injured parties. But it's not fair to make someone who is not responsible for the injury to provide that compensation. And sometimes bad things happen, and nobody gets compensated.”
The system works well, according to the president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. “Laws like these begin to affect real people,” said John Cooney. “And everyone from widows of state troopers to the people who ended up – because of particular litigation devices in other states, what happened to them – I think it speaks volumes about (lawmakers') values.”
SB 884 failed to pass the House Judiciary Committee.