Since taking office in January, Governor Rauner has been busy attacking trial lawyers and seeking to take away rights from the clients we represent. He’s made absurd comments regarding the Illinois Supreme Court saying he doesn’t “trust the Supreme Court to be rational in their decisions” and that the high court justices are part of a larger “corrupt” system of Illinois government – a system that, naturally, appears to include everybody but him. He points the finger at trial lawyers, insisting we play a major role in this “corrupt” system, and he has made it clear that he wants to take away our rights to participate in judicial elections.
Governor Rauner is actively working to dismantle the “grand bargain” of workers’ compensation, which has existed for 100 years. In the modern era, one with record corporate profits and a booming stock market, Illinois does not need to abandon this ethical agreement wherein injured workers are guaranteed treatment and money to live on, while employers are protected from costly litigation.
Two separate studies published in recent weeks by NPR/Pro Publica and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show that nationwide, insurance companies have kept any cost savings from recent “reforms” for themselves, with profits climbing to 18 percent in 2013 – with middle and lower-income families along with taxpayers paying the price. We know this to be true here in Illinois.
The following op-ed was submitted to select newspapers throughout the state and published in The Dispatch (Quad Cities) on February 13, 2015. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a shortened version on February 19, 2015.
Gov. Rauner Opens Another Front in the War Against the Middle Class
Legendary investor Warren Buffett, worth $63.3 billion and the second richest man in America, said it best: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address should be seen for what it is: a declaration of war against the financial security and prospects of middle and lower income Illinoisans by Rauner and the fellow millionaires and billionaires who put him in office.
The following op-ed was sent to newspapers throughout the state.
The Big Money Campaign to Deny Taxpayers’ Constitutional Right to Seek Justice from Our Courts
Recent headlines depict just a few examples of American citizens unknowingly put in harm’s way, seriously injured or killed due to defective products and unsafe food: “Death toll from GM ignition switches rises to 42,” “Takata airbag victims looked like they had been shot or stabbed,” and “Packaged caramel apples linked to five deaths, CDC says.”
At a time of record corporate profits and a booming stock market that has not translated into gains for middle and lower-income Americans, Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner is expected to seek “reforms” which would weaken modest workplace protections and erode the right to reasonable compensation for those who suffer catastrophic injuries in exchange for a higher minimum wage.
Illinois Supreme Court News
Supreme Court Rules 12 (Proof of Service in the Trial and Reviewing Courts; Effective Date of Service) and 373 (Date of Filing Papers in Reviewing Court; Certificate or Affidavit of Mailing) Amended: http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Rules/Amend/2014/091914.pdf
Elections Have Consequences: The Minimum Wage Debate and Why It Matters!
Realizing a certain amount of coincidence, I write today’s thoughts on Labor Day 2014. While this particular holiday is often associated with barbecues and family gatherings, it is also a time to remember that this day honors the working man and women of our country. The impetus for establishing Labor Day resulted from the national reaction to the horrors visited upon workers during the infamous Pullman strike in our own state of Illinois. The upcoming elections will provide yet another stark contrast between candidates who honor the efforts of everyday American workers and those who do not.
I wish to acknowledge the unique nature of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association as an organization and as a voice for a very vulnerable segment of our society-injured people. For over 60 years, ITLA has been a determined voice supporting the American civil justice system. In recent years, very slick public relations efforts by special interest groups have sought to silence or muffle that voice. The primary goal of our organization should always be to expose such cynical campaigns against the civil rights of ordinary Americans. The clearest and simplest method of protecting those rights is to always make certain that the public and our elected representatives are made aware of the truth.