As I write this, my last President’s Page column, I only have three weeks left in my term. I approach the end of my term as your President with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am very happy that I am about to get the prized Past President designation; on the other hand, I will miss the job. I have enjoyed serving our membership and clients. This has been one of the most treasured experiences of my professional career.
We have had a busy and eventful year. We worked hard on elections and had successful results. Most importantly, Governor Rauner was shown the door after a tumultuous four years in office. We have updated our venerable Complaint Book, which I encourage you to check out. Legislatively, we have had a successful year. We introduced several bills designed to fix particular problems and to improve our ability to represent our clients.
Fewer physicians prescribing opioids
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that “the rate of first-time opioid prescriptions declined 54 percent between 2012 and 2017 in the U.S., largely because many doctors stopped prescribing the painkillers.” Specifically, “the number of prescriptions for three days’ worth of an opioid…fell 57 percent” during that period, while “there was a
68 percent decline in the number of prescriptions offering seven days of opioid therapy.”
It is hard to believe that it is already March. As I reflect on how quickly this year is moving, I wanted to share some of the matters that ITLA is working on.
One of our main functions is to focus on the legislative process. Jim Collins and his staff are constantly looking out for bills that can potentially impact our clients and our practices. Other groups frequently ask ITLA for our opinions on legislation they are considering introducing. The result is that dozens of bills are vetted every week during session.
Johnson & Johnson begins settling consumer lawsuits over marketing of defective artificial hips
“Johnson & Johnson has begun settling consumers’ claims that it sold artificial hips knowing they were defective, marking the first settlements in the seven-year-old litigation.” A recent Texas court filing indicates that nearly one-third of 10,000 pending cases “have settled or are in the process of settling.” The company “is set to face a trial Jan. 14 in Dallas where five recipients of the Pinnacle hip will press claims that the world’s largest health-care products company failed to warn customers about the devices’ risks.” (Bloomberg News – 12/11/18)
Food industry said to be facing higher volume of lawsuits
From “unwanted ingredients and debatable labels to the spreading of salmonella and E. coli, food companies have been in the crosshairs of litigation this year with cases that can both change recipes and the way manufacturers do business.”
After much anticipation, the 2018 election is now behind us. Thanks to the hard work by many people across Illinois and in our organization, the results were very satisfying. Democratic candidates won all the state-wide constitutional offices. Most importantly, Governor Rauner has been shown the door after a tumultuous four years in office. Governor-Elect Pritzker is busy assembling his transition teams and is eager to lead our state into better times and away from Rauner’s failed policies and his seemingly endless attacks on our clients’ rights. I am confident that Governor-Elect Pritzker will lead our state into better times and will do so without attacking our clients’ rights.
Oregon releases Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary
According to the 2018 Oregon Premium Rate Ranking Summary, an analysis of workers’ compensation premiums across all U.S. states, Illinois has moved from 8th highest in 2016 to 22nd highest in 2018. Illinois is now 106% of the median when in 2016 it was 121% of the median. These drops are some of the largest in the country, and Illinois now ranks in the middle of the pack. Looking back to 1992, the only time IL ranked lower than 22nd was in 2004 when we were 23rd. IL has never had a lower index rate than now (1.80), even in 2004 (2.65) when we ranked slightly lower.
We are only a couple of months from the election. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is an important election. After the last four years of the current administration, we need a change. Governor Rauner’s constant assault on Illinois’ working families must come to an end. His tenure will only come to an end if we, as an organization and as individuals, continue to be vigilant. Only by continuing to work hard on this election will we, as an organization and as individuals, be able to allow our clients to have some peace of mind that their rights will not continue to be attacked.
Since my last report in June, there have been many developments worthy of discussion.
I am humbled by being allowed to serve as the President of this great organization. There have been many great Presidents before me, many are coming up behind me, and more importantly, many young attorneys are, or will be, assuming leadership roles. Each President has been a young lawyer figuring out their way and has been the “new” member or leader. The common thread for each President is that each has started their involvement early in their career and has given unselfishly of their time and effort. To all of our younger members, I urge you to get involved, stay involved, show up at meetings and political events, financially contribute what you can to candidates and ITLA, and ask for advice as needed. Involving our younger members in leadership is crucial to ITLA’s ongoing mission to make sure that our clients have a level playing field when we step into the courtroom.