* Background is here if you need it. Late Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend while the rest of the news media is focused on the remap. Not buried at all /s…
Today, Governor JB Pritzker took the following bill action:
Bill Number: SB 72
Description: Allows plaintiffs to collect pre-judgment interest on personal injury and wrongful death claims, aligning Illinois with 46 other states. Pre-judgment interest would not apply to state, local governments, school districts, community colleges, any other government entity or consumer debt, nor would it apply to settlements.
Effective: July 1, 2021
…Adding… Illinois State Medical Society…
When the residents of Illinois have trouble finding a doctor to attend to their medical needs, one of the things they can point to is Senate Bill 72, which was just signed into law.
The new law will inflict deep harm on the state’s already challenged medical liability climate by adding a prejudgment interest penalty at the rate of 6% that starts to accrue on the date an action is filed. This is a system designed to badger defendants and line the pockets of the plaintiffs’ bar, instead of seeking fair resolution to medical liability claims.
The consequences of this new law will be felt when physicians decide Illinois is too expensive of a state to practice medicine. Prejudgment interest will drive up medical liability payouts, force doctors away from our borders and increase the cost of health care. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The bottom line is that patients will suffer.
“This measure will dramatically increase litigation costs on manufacturers, hospitals, and doctors that have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic. Across Illinois, manufacturers have developed life-saving vaccines and treatments, produced personal protective equipment for first responders and health care professionals and have kept grocery stores stocked with safe and nutritious foods. Instead of being supported, these essential facilities will now be hit with tens of millions of dollars in additional costs,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Policy makers should be focused on supporting manufacturers to spur economic recovery from the pandemic, not making it harder for businesses to hire workers and invest in our communities.”
…Adding… Background from the governor’s office on negotiated changes to the bill…
• Interest reduced to 6% from 9%
• Pre-judgement interest no longer begins to accrue upon notice to defendant, it now begins when a case is filed.
• Pre-judgement interest would no longer accrue on punitive damage, sanctions, statutory attorney’s fees, or statutory costs.
• Removed the State from pre-judgement interest.
• If a plaintiff voluntarily dismisses a case then the interest will be tolled during the time it’s dismissed.
• Caps the accrual period for interest at five years.
• Effective date moved to 7/1/21 (was immediate in previous version).
• Within the first 12 months if a defendant makes an offer for settlement and it is not accepted or rejected in a timely manner by the plaintiff then the interest amount will be determined by the difference between the offered amount and the ultimate amount of the judgement.