Betting the ranch

The Madison County Record Jun. 12, 2005, 5:41am

Troyce Wolf

Moses Harrison

Perry Browder

Greed isn’t good

Two asbestos trials, two plaintiffs leave the Madison County courthouse with nothing. Sources tell Dicta it didn’t really have to be that way.

In both cases-- one versus Bondex and Georgia Pacific and a second versus General Electric-- significant settlement offers were made during the trial that were swiftly denied by plaintiff’s counsel.

Dicta hears a General Electric V.P. came to Madison County mid-trial with a settlement in hand but was rebuffed.

“They were just greedy,” a source familiar with negotiations told Dicta. “These out-of-town lawyers just assume that a Madison County jury is going to award them a large settlement.”

So in an effort—we suppose-- to make their trip to the Metro East worthwhile, Dallas-based law firm Waters Kraus, representing plaintiffs in both cases, went “all in.”

Their clients got none out. And the beat goes on.

On partisanship

The ire raised by Metro East Democrats over Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier’s “partisan” selection of Republicans to fill judicial vacancies conjured up memories of one of his predecessors, Moses Harrison.

Harrison, a Democrat, represented Southern Illinois on the State Supreme Court from 1992 until 2002. All the while, he stayed committed to his personal political principles.

How committed? A major Illinois newspaper recently described Harrison as an “avid opponent of caps” on jury awards for pain and suffering. He was also an active opponent of capital punishment, once opining that “there’s no hope for morality in the state of Illinois so long as we have the death penalty.”

Partisan positions? Absolutely. An impediment to justice? Not as far as we can tell.

Harrison’s partisan flavor was well-known around these parts, which explains why he was elected with flying colors.

Whether Harrison eventually got too deep into politics by controversially appointing the daughter of a longtime political pal to fill a 5th Appellate Court judicial vacancy in 2001 was and still is up to Southern Illinois voters to decide.

We’ll surmise that they did last November. And we know that they’ll be watching Judge Karmeier all the same.


Just curious. Any reason why former John Crane attorney Perry Browder's employment history is not mentioned on current employer SimmonsCooper's website?

Browder was a member of the plaintiff team that reeled in the largest jury verdict ever in Madison County--$250 million in 2003.

True, the site does mention that from 1992-2001, "Perry was involved in asbestos litigation throughout Illinois and numerous other states."

But the crucial missing piece of information is Browder's long-term asbestos "involvement" was with so-called plaintiff foil John Crane.

Browder used to defend John Crane, exclusively as an attorney for Wm. Koziol & Associates for many years.

Current chief John Crane defender Ed Burns was also at Koziol before moving to O'Connell & Associates.

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