The following letter to the editor by ITLA president John P. Scanlon was published in the Daily Herald.
Mr. Akin and his pro big business front group are at it again. Last week, he tried to somehow argue that a lawsuit involving a soda pop tax is the same as serious cases involving deaths and paralysis – they are not.
Travis Akin’s recent letter to the editor uses the new soda pop tax as a springboard to claim that all lawsuits filed in the county are frivolous and makes the false claim that Cook County courts are somehow out of balance and always favor plaintiffs.
Akin’s claims just aren’t true. The number of civil suits filed in Illinois courts has fallen 43 percent from 2010 to 2015 and in Cook County civil lawsuit filings have dropped over 50 percent in the same time frame. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, more than half of those who file civil lawsuits in Cook County lose the “lawsuit lottery.”
There is no correlation between our courts and the economy. Just look to a recent survey done by the National Federation of Independent Business which ranked lawsuits 68th on a list of 75 concerns for small businesses. Not only that, Illinois is also pro-business – the U.S. Department of Commerce ranks Illinois 5th out of the 50 states in Gross Domestic Product.
Illinois’ civil justice system works. Our courts provide a level playing field for individuals to force wrongdoers to make amends – even the wealthiest companies like Walgreen’s and McDonald’s.
Civil lawsuits are critical tool for consumers to identify and remedy potentially widespread abuses by large corporations. It allows everyday citizens to hold these companies accountable while deterring future misconduct.
John P. Scanlon, President
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association