Behind those ads

Edwardsville Intelligencer
Friday, October 13, 2006

Illinois is portrayed as being in poor shape, but is it?
The advertising campaign recently launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Illinois Campaign for Legal Reform (ILR) and the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL) calls to question the role of the Chamber of Commerce in encouraging business and what type of justice the ICJL advocates.
The ads they call "Faces of Lawsuit Abuse" are television ads that claim that "frivolous lawsuits" are forcing businesses out of Illinois. One only has to look at the business climate in Madison and St. Clair counties to wonder if anyone in Southwestern Illinois can take these ads seriously.
Where shall we start?
According to TheAlliance of Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, nearly $61 million in new construction and development projects were under way in the two communities in the first six months of 2006, not including projects in unincorporated areas.

"The corporate front groups seem utterly unconcerned with being honest about the actual business climate of Illinois, which is, in fact, strong and growing," states Mark Fraley, acting director of the Center for Justice and Democracy-Illinois.
As for a good place to do business, Illinois is ranked 13th among the 50 states and Chicago is rated the top place to locate a business. Three Illinois metropolitan areas also rank in Forbes magazine's top 150 places.
In their television ads, the ILR and the ICJL are recommending that Illinois enact more so-called "tort reform" laws to overhaul the civil justice system in the state.
Tort reform means setting limits on how much an injured party can collect to compensate for loss of health or other damage.
"These ads are geared towards persuading Illinois lawmakers to adopt unfair laws that would block injured consumers' access to the courts and remove accountability for negligent corporations," said Fraley.
"Such laws would give oil, tobacco, and insurance companies undue control over Illinois courts."

According to the Center for Justice and Democracy-Illinois, the ICJL and U.S. Chamber of Commerce's ILR ads fail to mention the "faces of people who have been injured" by the negligence of others and who would suffer if their legal rights were stripped away.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce are separate organizations.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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