The stereotype in Madison County was of a steelworker’s kid who spent summers working at Granite City Steel until he finished law school. There was a respect for the mill that fed them and all those asbestos cases that came flooding through Madison County Circuit Court pretty much left the steel businesses in Granite City alone.
Apparently times have changed, maybe because the mill is no longer feeding those legal eaglets.
In the fine tradition of Madison County’s class-action lawsuits that yield millions in attorney fees but coupons for the plaintiffs, some Granite City homeowners now have the opportunity to obtain from $33 to $2,500 for particles and stink that emanated from U.S. Steel’s mill, SunCoke Energy Inc., and Gateway Energy and Coke Co.
With $33 you could get a broom, some eye drops and a clothespin for your nose.
The lawyers, Simmons Hanly Conroy, will get $1.4 million.
Too bad there’s not a class action lawsuit going after the lawyers who created the stink at the Madison County lawsuit factory.
Thousands of asbestos cases have been churned through its “rocket dockets” despite the fact that the cases had no real local ties. Those exposed to asbestos are from elsewhere, they were exposed elsewhere but they were allowed to sue in Madison County because their lawyers found some tenuous business connection to some company that had once done business in the county.
The blue-collar jurors who sent their kids to law school were very generous with injured workers. Plaintiff’s paradise flourishes in Madison and St. Clair counties, earning the two repeated designations as “judicial hellholes.”
The Illinois Supreme Court recently bounced a stinky case that involved a Michigan warehouse being sued in Illinois after its roof collapsed and ruined some fish. Justices determined that just because the warehouse owner had another warehouse in Joliet was not grounds to come shopping in Illinois for a friendly jury.
That ruling could mean big changes for the two local courthouses, were the ruling to be evenly applied.
But then, the odds of ending venue shopping here are likely 33-to-1.4 million.