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Crain's Chicago Business: Consider the Source: Report on 'Judicial Hellholes' all PR

Crain's Chicago Business
02.02.2009

The following letter to the editor by Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr., was published by Crain's Chicago Business.

Consider the Source: Report on 'Judicial Hellholes' all PR

Travis Akin's insinuation in his Jan. 12 letter to Crain's that the courts are susceptible to the same corruption that has plagued Illinois politics is reprehensible and insulting to hardworking judges and juries. The despicable conduct of Gov. Rod Blagojevich has nothing at all to do with the civil justice system.

The 2008 "Judicial Hellhole" report that Mr. Akin refers to was released by the American Tort Reform Assn., a front group for big corporate interests led by the insurance, tobacco and oil cartels. ATRA's annual report is nothing more than a public relations stunt designed to further its members' political and legislative strategies.

This report reminds its readers that corporate special interests never have gotten comfortable with the fact that they cannot dominate the judicial system in Illinois. When our courts deny corporate wrongdoers a free pass after engaging in anti-consumer behavior or making products that injure and kill people, big business unfairly and regularly attacks and maligns the judiciary.

The public interest is not served when big corporate interests are able to use their money, power and influence to dominate the civil justice system. The fact that regular, working people - those without clout or connections - can have access to the legal system when they have been wronged has been a basic tenet of our democracy.

Illinoisans should be very proud of the fact that our legal system can still protect the rights of everybody - rich and poor, black and white, old and young - and hold bad corporate actors accountable.

-Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr.

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