WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement on the removal of Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder from administering the court’s asbestos docket. The move came a week after her campaign committee received $30,000 in contributions from asbestos plaintiffs’ lawyers whose firms had received “trial slots” on the court’s 2013 docket.
“For at least a decade, the Madison County Asbestos docket calendar has assigned case slots to plaintiffs’ lawyers without actual court cases, creating a type of asbestos lawsuit futures market of immense value to those plaintiffs’ firms who have been assigned court slots.
“It is this compromised system that is the root of the cash-for-trials scandal which caused Judge Crowder’s reassignment.
“When Judge Crowder inherited the Madison County asbestos docket last year, many were hopeful that she would clean up this warped system. That didn’t happen.
“We applaud Chief Judge Ann Callis and the unanimous opinion of her circuit court judges in reassigning this docket.
“However, we call on the court to fix the fundamental flaw of Madison County’s asbestos docket calendar system that in effect puts court time up for sale.”
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
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