Madison County: Getting Right with the Law

By December 17, 2007Briefly Legal

With the American Tort Reform Association’s report on Judicial Hellholes ® due out tomorrow(media advisory here), a little intelligence from the Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer, which notes three tort cases ended last week with a ruling in favor of the defendant. A trend is spotted:

Travis Akin, executive director of the Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch, declined to say whether Madison County will be on the list again this year, but he acknowledged that the county is headed in the right direction. “Obviously, there have been dramatic improvements in the civil justice climates in Madison and St. Clair counties,” he said. “Whenever you have a reputation of being a hellhole, it’s going to take time to shed that reputation.”

Still, it’s encouraging: Last week a Madison County jury found that a woman bore responsibility for her own injuries when she stuck her hand in an elevator’s closing doors. In years past, the jury would have given her a big settlement.

UPDATE (9 a.m.) Stephen Tillery, class-action king, has done well in the Stygian legal darkness of Madison County. A recent court filing has shown how well, the Madison County Record reports:

Since 1998, Tillery-initiated class action lawsuits have led to at least $1.8 billion in settlements against companies including IBM, AT & T, Ameritech, Xerox and MCI, according to a motion filed Dec. 5 in the Madison County Court. Doing the quick math– plaintiff’s lawyers typically take one-third of the gross proceeds, plus fees– that comes to a hearty $600 million payday for Tillery & Co.

Not bad for a decade’s work.

And that’s not to mention what Tillery didn’t in this accounting– the $17 million he’s set to collect from Sears in January, the $16.8 million he just won in a class action against GlaxoSmithKline, his undisclosed take in a class action settled versus Allstate, or his share of $12 million settlement versus SBC. And those are the fees about which we know.

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