By Ryan Meikamp of Strong Law Offices on Friday, October 31, 2014
Can political donations sway appellate court rulings in cases where there is the potential for a very large recovery or there already has been a large verdict entered and the case is currently on appeal?
My answer would be yes it’s certainly possible. I believe this is a point that the general public generally would agree upon in that companies do not make political donations out of the goodness of their hearts. They do it to sway influence and to obtain access to the court system in large exposure cases.
A most recent example of this is found in Madison County, IL where it was recently revealed that Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who is up for a retention vote in the November 5, 2014 election, was part of a Supreme Court panel that reversed an appellate court ruling regarding the appropriate venue for a lawsuit in which a tractor-trailer driver for a large corporation struck and killed an Illinois State Police Officer.
The attorney for the trucking company filed paperwork with the court to have the lawsuit removed from the county in which the deceased officer’s family lived and where the company transported millions of dollars of products through to another county which could potentially provide them a better result in terms of potential jurors in that the county where this company is based is very small and a great deal of people in that county work for this transportation company and would most likely be less inclined to award a big verdict against that company when it could potentially put their jobs on the line in the future.
Why is this important? It is important because in reviewing the possibilities as to who you could potentially vote for regarding judicial officers such as judges it is important to remember that many of the judges are taking campaign donations from a variety of companies and those companies are not making those donations for nothing.
This is not to say that any of these companies nor any of these judicial officers have done anything inappropriate or illegal, it is just to say that I would suggest that, before voting for any judicial offer, that you look in to who they have received campaign donations from and what those donations may mean for you in the future if this particular person is elected. This information is readily available online and through a variety of other sources.