A Bridge to Madison County

So who is Madison County Democratic Team Donor Randy Bono?

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…Murname, with the Illinois Civil Justice League was suspicious about the Madison County Democratic Team’s plans for $62,000 that prominent asbestos attorney Randy Bono and his East Alton personal injury firm, SimmonsCooper, donated to the group on Friday (10/22/04).


“Why do they need all that money?” Murnane asked. “We are concerned with what kind of money that group will spend on Election Day activities – and what they will spend it on.”

Well,… President George W. Bush came to Madison County in early January, 2005 to push his Tort Reform Policy. Madison County is directly north of St. Clair County where East St. Louis is located. Madison County has a reputation of being the worst “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation. In April of 2004, Former U.S. Attorney General under Jimmie Carter, Griffin Bell, said the litigation system in Madison County should be investigated by federal authorities.

Madison County has gained national notoriety as being a good place to sue.

“It is common knowledge that corporate defendants do not fare well in the circuit court for Madison County,” Bell said.

Randy Bono, a plaintiff attorney, said he would welcome a federal investigation.

“I don’t care. Bring’em on,” Bono said. “We don’t have anything to hide.”

Bono won a $250 million verdict in Madison County in the case of a man who got cancer from asbestos. The parties later settled for a lesser, undisclosed amount.

Bono also suggested that critics of Madison County, such as the American Tort Reform Association, which in 2003 listed the county as the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole,” have ramped up their efforts since attorney Steve Tillery won a $10.1 billion verdict last year against cigarette maker Philip Morris.

“The tobacco industry, in my view, is driving the whole issue,” Bono said.

“This is a serious problem. As an example, about 25 percent of all asbestos cases nationwide in which the plaintiff suffers from mesothelioma are filed in Madison County,” Bell said. “How is it that one small county in one state is home to one-quarter of all mesothelioma cases filed in the United States?”

There were 953 asbestos cases filed in the county in 2003.

The critics brought up familiar points about Madison County:

• It had 106 class-action lawsuits filed in 2003, believed to be more per capita than any other county in the United States.

Doctors are complaining of big increases in medical-malpractice insurance rates.

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