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Press Release - February 9, 2015

I-Law: Gov. Rauner's Prescription Of Lawsuit Reform What Illinois's Ailing Economy Need

(Marion) - Governor Bruce Rauner's call for reasonable lawsuit reforms in his State of the State address is a significant step forward in bringing Illinois' economy back, according to Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW), a grassroots, non-partisan legal watchdog group.

In his speech Gov. Rauner outlined his plan for reasonable venue reform, joint and several liability reforms, a Constitutional Amendment to cap unreasonable judgments and settlements, and medical malpractice reform are significant steps in the right direction. Rauner also advocated for a better system of selecting judges in Illinois.

Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Travis Akin said the fact that Governor Bruce Rauner wants Illinois to get serious about lawsuit reform is welcome news. Akin said the need for Illinois to join surrounding states such as Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana in passing meaningful lawsuit reforms is long overdue.

"Illinois has long been a magnet for lawsuit abuse," said Travis Akin, executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch. "The Land of Lincoln has become the 'Land of Lawsuit Abuse.' Illinois is ranked 46th out of 50 states for legal fairness and is home to Madison County, the nation's fifth-worst 'Judicial Hellhole.' The end result of the state's culture of lawsuit abuse is loss of jobs and opportunities. Illinois cannot afford the status quo any longer. Illinois needs the reforms Governor Rauner outlined this week."

Illinois ranked dead last in the Midwest for new payroll jobs added to the economy in 2014 while Iowa ranked 14th and Wisconsin 20th, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Land of Lincoln also led the nation in outbound moves in 2014, according to Allied Van Lines.

"If we are going to get the Illinois economy moving again, we need serious and meaningful lawsuit reforms sooner rather than later," Akin said. "Governor Rauner's bold agenda is the right prescription for Illinois' ailing economy. The personal injury lawyers already engaged in a public relations campaign to oppose these common sense reforms. Illinois residents need to join the fight and put pressure on lawmakers to pass these reforms this spring. What Illinois needs is more jobs - not more lawsuits."

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