The following letter to the editor by ITLA President Larry R. Rogers, Jr. was published in the Daily Herald on Monday, November 16, 2020.
As the number of Illinoisans sickened by the coronavirus skyrockets, and the state’s hospitals and ICUs fill with COVID-19 patients, Patricia Babcock McGraw’s Nov. 7 column, “Parenthood is kissing boo-boos and reading bedtime stories,” could not be more ill-timed, nor her placing of the blame for a delayed high school basketball season on Illinois trial lawyers more misguided.
As a basketball player and fan, and as the father of a son who played high school basketball and three daughters who played high school volleyball, I know that parenthood is also saying “no” when your children want to do something that might endanger themselves or others. I am a tremendous fan of high school sports but an even bigger fan of high school health and safety.
Eight months into the pandemic, it’s disappointing Ms. McGraw doesn’t recognize that while children, thankfully, appear to recover well from COVID-19, they can still spread the virus to others: their parents, grandparents, immunocompromised family members, coaches, referees, and maintenance workers. It’s also the case that we don’t know, and can’t know, what the long-term effects of COVID-19 may be. That’s why it’s essential we do everything possible, even delaying sports seasons, to ensure as few as possible contract it.
The unknown long-term effects of Covid-19 and the potential spread and impact it can have on the health of others are also why “waivers” are a bad idea. How can you waive a harm you don’t know or fully appreciate, and better yet, do you really want to when it comes to your minor children?
Trial lawyers provide an essential check and balance on those who would selfishly disregard safety in the name of profit. We seek justice when someone suffers serious injury due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another individual, organization or business. Our work saves lives. And, the fact is, civil lawsuits in Illinois have decreased significantly in recent years. “Frivolous lawsuits” are a myth; courts toss suits without merit.
The real reason we can’t enjoy many of the activities we like is because there has been no coordinated, effective federal response and too many people have been unwilling to follow public health officials’ guidance: wear a face mask, wash your hands, and stay physically distanced from others. We hope that changes with the Biden Administration and that we can soon be back on the hardwood.
Larry R. Rogers, Jr.
President, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association