Sometimes the arguments advanced to defend the class action industry of Madison County, Ill., are just as interesting as the points advanced by critics of that industry. Last year the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on controversy over a legislative proposal in Springfield to tighten rules on where suits could be filed, thus curbing "venue shopping". But the venue-reform proposal drew sharp criticism from Sen. William R. Haine, D-Alton: "I'm not going to be in favor of any bill which limits the ability of a citizen to seek a remedy in an Illinois court". Later in the article, we get a glimpse of the other hat Sen. Haine wears when not acting as a legislator:
Haine works for the East Alton law firm of Simmons Cooper, which has collected several billion dollars in asbestos settlements in recent years in Madison County Circuit Court. He said he did not believe venue shopping had been a problem for his home county.
"These civil suits have created a windfall for Madison County taxpayers," he said. "The county's used the proceeds to add a new courts building, build a new county (health department) facility in Wood River and to pay down debt. So as far as cases clogging the courts, 'clogging' is in the eye of the beholder."