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September 28, 2004

Post-Dispatch on Illinois venue

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, whose series on asbestos litigation we saluted earlier this month, has published much more since then, including an article by Paul Hampel on the tendency of the Illinois courts -- thus far unchecked by the state's supreme court -- to be very liberal in granting Madison County venue to cases that arose elsewhere ("Illinois Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on venue for asbestos suits", Sept. 19). A couple of highlights:

* "Edward J. Kionka, who teaches civil procedure at St. Louis University School of Law, said Illinois law 'starts with the proposition that the plaintiff has the right to try a case where he wants.'" Kionka "suggests that plaintiff lawyers who do not forum shop face the risk of being targets of lawsuits themselves. 'My view? That is what lawyers are supposed to do -- look for the best result for their client,' said Kionka, who in private practice has handled appeals on behalf of asbestos plaintiffs. "It would be legal malpractice if they didn't file in the place where they would get the most money.'"

* "Many SimmonsCooper clients are referred to them by the law office of James Sokolove, a Massachusetts firm that advertises heavily on television. The Sokolove firm gets a fee for the referrals; John Simmons, managing partner of SimmonsCooper, declined to comment on the fee." The paper also runs a "Graphic of asbestos suits in Madison County".

Posted by Walter Olson at 11:08 AM | TrackBack (1)

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