New judge revamps asbestos court: U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds end of ‘asbestos lawsuit futures market’

Quoted from http://www.bnd.com/2012/03/31/2122921/new-judge-revamps-asbestos-court.html

New judge revamps asbestos court: U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds end of ‘asbestos lawsuit futures market’

BY KEVIN BERSETT Belleville News-Democrat

Saturday, Mar. 31, 2012

A Madison County judge has ended a system that allowed plaintiff firms in asbestos cases to reserve trial dates before a case had even been filed.

Associate Judge Clarence Harrison’s order Thursday overturned a preliminary order assigning 2013 trial slots that was signed last year by Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder. Crowder was removed from the asbestos docket after her campaign received $30,000 in donations from three plaintiff firms that were awarded the majority of next year’s trial slots.

“The court finds no continuing need for the pre-assignment of trial settings,” Harrison wrote.

Harrison’s order calls for trials to be set by motion on a case-by-case basis and preference to be given to the elderly and the dying.

Harrison could not be reached for comment Friday. Chief Judge Ann Callis would not comment on the order other than to confirm that it followed a hearing Monday at which plaintiff and defense lawyers gave their views on the issue.

[Article continues at original source]

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