EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis responded to the American Tort Reform Association's report released Tuesday that puts the Illinois county's court on a judicial "Watch List" due in part to a growing asbestos docket.
The watch list is part of the group's annual Judicial Hellholes report. ATRA named Madison County as the No. 1 judicial hellhole from 2002-04 before dropping to No. 5 in 2005 and No. 6 in 2007. It has since been on the watch list.
"The asbestos docket in Madison County represents less than 1 percent of all cases filed yearly in Madison County. Thus, it seems intrinsically unfair to criticize an entire court system, and its citizens, who fairly and diligently serve as jurors, when the focus is one only one docket.
"Our focus as judges is to serve the people of Madison County, not any special interest group from any side of the political spectrum. We have started many innovative programs and reforms, such as our Veteran's Court, which has been nationally recognized.
"Less asbestos cases were filed this year than last year -- (2009-814 cases; 2010-650 cases) -- a significant amount.
To view the entire article, visit the Madison County Record.