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Madison County: no more judge-shopping?

Jim Copland posted a little while back on the recent indications that the formerly notorious courts of Madison County, Illinois, may be improving in fairness under the court's relatively new chief judge, Ann Callis. According to the U.S. Chamber-backed Madison County Record, Callis gave a speech in Chicago in July "before a gathering of national industry leaders and tort reform advocates" to outline some of the progress being made against abuses. Among measures taken "with unanimous support from the circuit bench":

She said the first reform, introduced only three days after she took over as chief, was done to put an end to "judge shopping" in class action cases.

Callis said plaintiffs' attorneys were adding potential class representatives in cases so that they could keep filing change of judge motions until a judge the attorney liked was assigned to the case.

While the first reform focused on judge shopping, Callis said the second round focused on forum shopping.

Callis said limits were needed for out-of-state attorneys filing cases in Madison County, but who had no connection to the county.

She also told the group that she opened many cases that had been previously sealed.

The forum-shopping phase of the reforms pretty clearly hasn't been implemented yet, since virtually every issue of the Record reports on cases from around the country that are brought to Madison County with no evident local connection, in such areas as asbestos, benzene, and class actions. P.S. More from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reprinted by Institute for Legal Reform.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.