Gov. JB Pritzker and his legislative allies received a strong rebuke in a Cook County courtroom recently, as a judge there ruled a recent new law as unconstitutional. The law in question changed the way that interest is calculated for rewards in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, by starting the calculation of interest at the day a lawsuit was filed.
The change was the result of legislation rammed through during the last day of the 2021 legislative session by Democratic leaders and quickly signed into law by the Governor.
A wide spectrum of industry groups—including businesses, manufacturers, and even the Illinois State Medical Society—had warned of the potential consequences of the legislation, which could make it more difficult for businesses and drive up costs for consumers throughout the state.
In her ruling, the judge stated that the law created different classes of plaintiffs and defendants, by creating larger payouts in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits compared to other types of cases. She made the ruling as part of a medical malpractice case that it would have affected. The judge also ruled the new law violated businesses’ constitutional right to a trial by jury by taking the award of damages out of the hands of their peers. The ruling is currently limited to that particular case, but if the defendants appeal, it could be revisited by the Appellate Court and then taken up by the Illinois Supreme Court.