Ann Maher Oct. 24, 2014, 8:04am

Two more donations totaling $500,000 were made late Thursday to the group trying to unseat Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier.

The class action firm Richardson Patrick Westbrook and Brickman of Charleston, S.C. contributed $300,000 and attorney Christine Moody, partner at Korein Tillery in St. Louis, contributed $200,000 to Campaign for 2016.

To date, the group has raised $1.3 million with six individual contributions. Moody has made two donations of $200,000 each.

The Richardson firm has an office in Edwardsville, filing asbestos suits in Madison County.

By comparison, dozens of contributions to Illinoisans for Karmeier total $152,000, which is about equivalent to the smallest of six donations made to the anti-retention effort.

Campaign for 2016 has spent nearly $1 million, mostly for media buys in the St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Mo. and Paducah, Ky. markets. It also paid about $170,000 for a brochure.

The television campaign alleges that Karmeier voted to reverse judgments against State Farm and Philip Morris after they supported his campaign in 2004.

In 2005, Karmeier participated in decisions that overturned class action judgments of about $10 billion in Price v. Philip Morris, and about $1 billion in Avery v. State Farm.

Nine years later, both cases remain alive.

Attorney Stephen Tillery heads the Price case.

Fifth District judges reinstated the Philip Morris judgment in April, finding the Justices would have affirmed it if they had seen evidence that came to light later.

When Philip Morris subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court for review, Tillery moved for Karmeier to recuse himself or for the other Justices to disqualify him.

Karmeier recently denied the motion. He offered his colleagues at the Supreme Court an opportunity to review and none of them called for disqualification.

The Court has granted Philip Morris leave to appeal and will schedule oral argument.

In the State Farm case, lead plaintiff Mark Hale pursues a racketeering suit before Chief U.S. District Judge David Herndon in East St. Louis.

Hale seeks to recover the overturned judgment with interest and triple damages for a total approaching $8 billion.

Other contributions made toward the Karmeier anti-retention effort came from another Tillery partner, George Zelcs of Chicago, in the amount of $300,000.

Clifford Law Offices of Chicago - one of the leading firms pursuing the Hale v. State Farm case - gave $150,000.

Another $150,000 came from the Power Rogers & Smith firm of Chicago. Partner Joseph A. Power had been retained by Tillery as co-counsel in Price v. Philip Morris.

When Power joined the Price plaintiff's team in 2005, Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas recused himself from proceedings because Power's firm provided representation to the Justice in a non-related legal matter.

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