Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Of course J.B. will settle; he can then blame Rauner for the wrongdoing

After covering units of government for so many years, there’s one rule of operations that I’ve picked up on.
PRITZKER: Willing to settle, he won't lose

If you sue a government, you’re probably going to wind up getting some sort of settlement – although very few will wind up becoming wealthy for life as a result.

SERIOUSLY, THE RULE that most governments use is that the moment the cost of attorneys fees to defend oneself become too great, the attorneys are under orders to reach a settlement.

Of course, that’s why so many lawsuits against government wind up being resolved with clauses saying there is no admission of guilt or wrongdoing. The government entity will claim this means they really didn’t do anything wrong – even if they wound up having to cough up some cash!

This concept is what pops into my mind as I learn of Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s comments recently about how he wants to settle the lawsuits pending against Illinois government as a result of military veterans who were living at a Veterans Affairs facility in Quincy.

Those were the people who came into contact with Legionnaire’s Disease while living at the facility. Their families are the ones who are now suing, saying the state needs to compensate them for the deaths of their loved ones.

THESE INCIDENTS OCCURRED during the gubernatorial reign of Bruce Rauner – which has just over one more month to run. Pritzker says he fully intends to resolve these lawsuits – once he becomes governor come mid-January.

Of course Pritzker is going to want to resolve these lawsuits. He’ll be able to place full blame for any acts of wrongdoing on the previous gubernatorial administration.

And perhaps by cutting the state’s losses loose sooner rather than later, the state will be saved a bit of financial expense in the long run.
RAUNER: Will get the blame

Not that any of this will produce a definitive result as to what went wrong or who truly screwed up and caused the deaths of military veterans. But if partisan political points can be scored, who really cares about fact? Or the truth?

MAYBE IT’LL BE all about the payoff – with the families who have spent the past couple of years tangled up in court feeling grateful they’re getting some money. Not that money alone will truly make up for the loss of a loved one.

But it’s also about the partisan politics. Which means that a Rauner victory in last month’s general elections would have extended this process – at least long enough until Rauner himself would have concluded that a quest for a dismissal just wasn’t worth the expense in legal fees.

He would have paid them off, provided he got that concession of “no wrongdoing” on the part of the state.

Whereas Pritzker isn’t as concerned, because he can shift off blame to someone else. As for what money has to be paid out in settlements, I suppose Pritzker will be able to argue, “It’s not my money!” and will merely sign on the dotted line to approve the compensation for those who suffered a loss.

IT MAY ALSO be why Pritzker will be willing to go along with the General Assembly’s recent action to increase the amount of money people can win in such lawsuits (from $100,000 to $2 million apiece).

Illinois will wind up having to come up with significantly more in cash to settle the dozen lawsuits that are now pending against the state.
Pritzker would like to turn happenings of Quincy into 'yesterday's news'
But Pritzker will write it off as merely another expense we got dinged with as a result of the partisan gamesmanship of the Rauner administration. The new governor will be more than willing to pay out if he thinks it's his predecessor who will get dinged with the blame.

Which J.B. will regard as the ultimate prize, thereby making him the ultimate political victor with regards to the Quincy “issue.”


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