The Illinois Civil Justice League said that in Illinois justice isn't blind; it sees the money flowing.
A newly published report by the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL) Tuesday, titled “Justice for Sale III,” highlights $35 million over the past 15 years flowing from the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) political action committee to the state’s most powerful politicians.
League President John Pastuovic said that includes judge candidates. “While ITLA’s PAC and plaintiff firms donated millions, policy makers they supported made Illinois tort laws even more to the trial attorneys’ liking.”
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Pastuovic said that has helped secure what could be a $1.7 billion annual asbestos litigation industry in Madison County “and could produce nearly $600 million annually in contingency fees for plaintiff attorneys.”
Nearly all of the political donations have gone to Democrats,ICJL Vice President Allen Adomite said.
“99.9999 percent went to Democratic Supreme Court contests or to oppose Republican Supreme Court candidates,” Adomite said.
Adomite also highlighted hundreds of thousands that went to the various political funds run by State House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and State Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.
Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Travis Aikin said following the money could show why Illinois is trailing other states in curbing abuses in its civil justice system.
“When personal-injury lawyers continue to game the system to their advantage, it is no wonder our state has become a favorite destination for personal-injury lawyers looking to hit the lawsuit lottery.”
Aiken said the state’s civil lawsuit climate keeps businesses away and hurts taxpayers, whose courts get tied up with frivolous lawsuits.
The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association dismissed the report and said businesses’ spending on politics dwarfs what lawyers spend.
In a statement responding to ICJL’s report, ILTA’s Christopher Hurley said ILTA “and its members will continue to stand on the side of taxpayers and for the constitutionally protected rights of Illinoisans to access the courts their tax dollars fund.”