EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - Madison County saw a record 1,563 asbestos-related lawsuits in 2012, an increase of 610 from the year before.
Madison County is a favorite target for the American Tort Reform Association, which perennially calls it a "judicial hellhole." Madison County juries supposedly are sympathetic to plaintiffs.
The association claims that about 90 percent of the 2012 filings came from out-of-state plaintiffs.
With the exception of 2010, asbestos cases have increased every year in Madison County since 2006, according to the Madison County Record.
The Record reported that 325 asbestos cases were filed in 2006, 425 in 2007, 639 in 2008, 814 in 2009, 752 in 2010 and 953 in 2011.
Associate Judge Clarence Harrison brought a major change to the county's asbestos docket in March 2012, when he abolished the court's practice of setting asbestos trials weeks in advance. The effects of that decision are not yet known.
Some court-watchers say the move will make the scheduling of asbestos dockets more consistent, while others say it could result in even more filings.
Madison County is across the Mississippi River and northeast of St. Louis.
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