Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, subject of a subpoena in a $7 billion class action against State Farm, invokes judicial privilege and First Amendment freedom in response.
His lawyer, Courtney Cox of St. Louis, hit both points in a May 21 brief urging U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams to reject the subpoena or narrow it.
Cox wrote that a federal court must quash or modify a subpoena that requires disclosure of privileged or otherwise protected matter.
"The judicial deliberation privilege bars discovery of those matters related to Justice Karmeier’s deliberative processes,”Cox wrote.
"Moreover, the First Amendment steadfastly protects the privacy of Justice Karmeier and his campaign personnel, all non parties, from prying eyes that might chill political advocacy and the freedom to associate.
"Plaintiff asks this court to penetrate the First Amendment and judicial deliberation doctrine on nothing more than conjecture, having failed to obtain any objective evidence of quid pro quo corruption.”
Plaintiffs Mark Hale of New York, Todd Shadle of Texas, and Carly Vickers Morse of Maryland claim State Farm fraudulently secured Karmeier’s election in 2004.
They claim that through Karmeier’s corrupt influence, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned a billion dollar judgment against State Farm.
Their civil suit under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) seeks triple damages and interest.
They served the subpoena on Karmeier in April for 64 kinds of information including his tax returns from 2002 to 2007, and communications with 87 other persons and entities including the Record.
On May 8, lead lawyer Robert Clifford of Chicago moved to compel compliance.
"The amount in controversy is staggering,”Clifford wrote.
"The issues in this action, including the independence of the judicial system, could not be more important.”
Magistrate Williams has set a hearing on the subpoena for June 17. He also will hear State Farm’s motion for a confidentiality order.