Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW), a grassroots, non-partisan legal watchdog group kicked off a 1,000-mile statewide public education tour this week to promote Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week.
The theme of this year’s Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week is “Stopping Lawsuit Abuse Starts With You,” and I-LAW will be encouraging individuals to serve on juries, take personal responsibility and become smart legal consumers.
The campaign includes a 60-second radio spot that will air on stations throughout Illinois; a billboard truck that will travel across the state; a social media campaign; and the distribution of a legal consumer guide in front of county courthouses to help consumers know their rights and make smart choices when they hire a lawyer or decide to file a lawsuit.
Illinois was recently ranked the fifth-worst state in the country for lawsuit abuse by the non-partisan research company Harris Interactive and is often labeled the “Lawsuit Abuse Capital of the Midwest.” Illinois’ lawsuit climate ranked beneath every bordering state including: Iowa (10), Indiana (14), and Wisconsin (15), Missouri (34) and Kentucky (38).
“Illinois is plagued by an epidemic of lawsuit abuse that hinders job growth and clogs our courts,” said Travis Akin, I-LAW executive director. “While our legislators should move quickly to pass common sense legal reforms that will restore fairness to Illinois courts, you can’t legislate personal responsibility. It’s up to us to be smart legal consumers, to show up for jury service and to do all that we can ensure our courts are used for justice, not greed.
“If each citizen would take personal responsibility for his or her own actions, it would go a long way to curbing lawsuit abuse,” he added. “It starts with each one of us working to solve our problems instead of filing lawsuits and taking the time to serve on juries instead of looking for a way out when that jury summons comes in the mail.”
In the 60-second radio spot, I-LAW notes, “Whenever we avoid jury service or joke about filing a lawsuit over some silly thing, it sends the message that frivolous lawsuits are acceptable.”
As part of its Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week activities, I-LAW will be traveling more than 1,000 miles across the state to meet with local leaders and spread the word about the need to create a more favorable job creation climate by stopping lawsuit abuse in Illinois.
“Personal injury lawyers have turned the ‘Land of Lincoln’ into the ‘Land of Lawsuits,’” Akin said. “They flock to Illinois to file their frivolous lawsuits in our state’s notoriously plaintiff-friendly courts, and as a result, Illinois business owners constantly are thinking about leaving Illinois. Money spent fighting abusive lawsuits is money down the drain.”
For more information about Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week”and the “Good Judges Matter” initiative, visit www.ILLawsuitAbuseWatch.org.