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The annual “Judicial Hellhole” list is out and, according to the American Tort Reform Association, Illinois is red-hot. The association released the list last week ranking what it believes are the six worst courts in the nation. Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and its Gulf Coast region garnered top honors, with Cook County, Ill.; West Virginia; Madison County, Ill.; St. Clair County, Ill.; and South Florida rounding out the top six. “It’s possible to quench the fires in Judicial Hellholes,” says Sherman Joyce, ATRA president. After three consecutive years on the list, Hampton County, S.C., was “delisted” after a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling made it harder for plaintiffs to file in certain county courts. ATRA assembles the list by surveying its members and monitoring the courts. “You tend to see forum-shopping,” Joyce says of the so-called hell courts, “[and] imbalances in the way expert evidence is allowed, making it much tougher on defendants than plaintiffs.” ATRA is working with the Illinois Civil Justice League to reform the Illinois courts.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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