CUB back in court with Ameritech

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 7, 2004, 4:16am

On Friday, Oct. 15, the Citizens Utility Board will be back in court in Madison County on a motion for Accounting of Settlement.

Earlier this month Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron approved a $12.4 million settlement--$1.9 million for attorneys's fees--but nothing for CUB, on a class action suit against Ameritech.

Plaintiffs Naomi R. Nichols-Siedhoff and James Vucich of Madison County filed suit alleging Ameritech misled customers into believing they would save money with the SimpliFive optional rate plan, when in fact the plan would result in higher usage charges.

CUB, a Chicago-based nonprofit advocacy group for Illinois utility customers, asked for $250,000 to help make it easier for people to get their refunds. CUB wanted this money to go into a fund to help Illinois consumers on future cases.

The settlment calls for Illinois Customers to receive $25 refunds if they were a part of the Simplifive plan.

After the hearing, CUB director Martin Cohen, said he was disappointed his group didn't receive anything in the settlement.

CUB had made the case before the Illinois Commerce Commission in 2001 and won, but the commission had no legal authority to make SBC give customers refunds.

On March 2, 2001, Stephen Tillery of the St. Louis law firm Korrein Tillery, filed the class action suit on behalf of the Madison County plaintiffs.


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