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News
November 16, 2005

Chamber Hails Illinois Supreme Court Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the public policy law firm of the United States Chamber of Commerce, today welcomed a decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois in the case of Gridley v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, to dismiss a class action lawsuit with no meaningful connection to the state, much less Madison County, where the lawsuit was filed.

“The court has sent a clear message that forum shopping and out-of-state lawyers looking for big paydays are no longer welcome in Illinois,” said Robin Conrad, senior vice president of NCLC. “Cases like Gridley are in large part to blame for Madison County’s reputation as a jackpot jurisdiction.”

State Farm asked the Fifth District Appellate Court to dismiss the case, which it declined to do. The case was then appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. State Farm argued that Louisiana was the proper forum because the lead plaintiff was a Louisiana resident and the allegations of wrongdoing were tied to activities that took place in that state. Furthermore, because the preponderance of witnesses and evidence are located in Louisiana, the case had no meaningful connection to Madison County and thus should not be tried in that jurisdiction.

NCLC filed an amicus curiae brief in support of State Farm, citing the well-documented history of lawsuit abuse in Madison County and the impact of its courts on businesses across the country.

“Today’s ruling marks a significant victory for Illinois workers and employers who ultimately pay the price for lawsuit abuse,” continued Conrad. “It gives businesses some reassurance that the high court will apply the law as intended, reducing their exposure to costly junk lawsuits.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region. The National Chamber Litigation Center is a membership organization that advocates fair treatment of business in the courts and before regulatory agencies.

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