Illinois Trial Lawyers Association argues against lawsuit abuse group

By WEEK Producer

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 7:22 PM CDT

Some trial lawyers in Illinois are arguing against a story we brought on Monday.

A group called "Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch" is pushing for tort reform to get rid of frivolous lawsuits.

The rebuttal comes from the president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Stephen Phillips contends that the lawsuit abuse watch group is funded by big business and the State Chamber of Commerce and is a mouthpiece to look after the legal interests of businesses.

Phillips, who practices personal injury and wrongful death cases in Chicago, said lawsuit abuse is trying to scare citizens into giving up their rights.

He also said if anything needs to be changed it’s what he calls "frivolous defenses."

"Cases where the insurance companies should pay claims very quickly and compensate families for what's happened but instead, the insurance companies say, you know, if we drag this case out in court for three, four or five years and we fight it, we will hang onto our money and earn interest on it until the bitter end,” said Phillips.

Phillips said civil cases need to operate more like criminal cases where the plaintiffs have a right to speedy litigation.