Asbestos judge Stack multi-tasks

Steve Korris Feb. 24, 2005, 5:40am

Circuit Judge Daniel J. Stack

(Editor's note: This is the final in a series of reports on the class action dockets of Madison County Circuit Court judges).

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, who caught a few class actions on the bounce while working primarily in criminal court, now qualifies for direct assignments.

Chief Judge Edward Ferguson transferred Stack--who also manages the county's massive asbestos docket--to civil court Jan. 3.

In Stack's hopper, he faces big decisions in twin suits from 2001.

In one, William Phillips and others sued Union Fidelity Life and Jack Schmitt Ford. In the other, Kathryn Dickinson and James Dickinson sued Lincoln Benefit Life and Four Flags Motors.

In both, plaintiffs claimed that the dealers overcharged vehicle buyers on insurance.

In the Phillips case, substitutions removed Judges Philip Kardis, Andy Matoesian, and George Moran. The case went to Judge Mendelsohn, but as landlord for a law firm in the case, he recused himself. In the Dickinson case, substitutions removed Moran and Matoesian. Ferguson plugged Stack into both holes.

In the Dickinson case, Stack heard arguments in November on a defense motion to dismiss. He took it under advisement. In the Phillips case, he has set a March 10 hearing on class certification.

One of many class actions from chiropractors--Gerald H. Bemis Sr., and Mark Eavenso--shuffled to Stack on Feb. 10, after a substitution took out Judge Nicholas Byron.

In the case, plaintiffs claim that Allied Property and Casualty, AMCO Insurance and Nationwide Mutual improperly reduced payouts on injury claims under auto and workers' compensation policies.

Stack's docket also carries a class claim from 2000. In it, Winnie Madison claims Hartford Insurance trumped up disputes to reduce payouts on injury claims from auto accidents. Stack held a class certification hearing in 2003, but before he ruled on it Madison amended the complaint. Discovery continues.

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