Illinois is already one of the worst states in the country for lawsuit abuse and a measure to remove any statute of limitations on occupational diseases such as mesothelioma has made Illinois’ litigation climate even worse.
SB 1596 eliminates the 25-year statute of repose for occupational injury in our Workers' Compensation Act and the Workers' Occupational Disease Act. Caulkins said there could have been a way to find a compromise within the workers’ compensation system to help workers who have sustained injuries after the statute of repose. Instead, proponents rejected any compromise and have placed a potential liability on employers that were never anticipated.
“Workers absolutely should be made whole, but there needs to be reasonable limits in place to prevent our court system from being abused,” Caulkins said. “This legislation opens up the door for virtually unlimited liability for every business operating in Illinois. The trial lawyers will have a field day with this. When you combine Senate Bill 1596 with the other anti-business measures being pushed by the Governor and legislative leaders, the exodus of Illinois businesses is likely to accelerate.”
Senate Bill 1596 has passed both the House and the Senate and will be sent to the Governor.