At 22, cases stall for super plaintiff Eavenson

Steve Korris Aug. 24, 2005, 3:54pm

At the peak of the class action craze in Madison County, Granite City chiropractor Mark Eavenson filed 22 class action complaints against companies for paying him less than he billed for treatments.

In two years, the mass of Eavenson cases has barely moved.

As summer ends and the somewhat dormant courthouse prepares for the flush of autumn, the Eavenson cases offer a barometer of the judicial climate.

The national Class Action Fairness Act has sharply reduced the number of new class action cases in the courthouse. Days ahead will tell if hundreds of pending cases, some of them six-years-old, will pick up steam or stall.

Nine of Eavenson's suits have seen no action since June 1. Four of those have seen no action since March.

The Lakin Law Firm of Wood River represents Eavenson in all cases.

Meridian Security Insurance, a defendant in two suits, set a hearing June 16 on motions to dismiss but the parties continued it. On the same day, Eavenson and Continental Loss Adjusting Services continued a hearing on a motion to dismiss.

Nothing has happened since in those cases, except for Meridian filing a memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss one case.

Eavenson recently received the court's permission to amend a complaint against Corvel Corporation.

Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian had set an Aug. 24 case management conference on a suit against Allied Property and Casualty Insurance, but the parties continued it.

Eavenson has voluntarily dismissed six suits, presumably after settling. The Illinois Supreme Court allowed one case to transfer to another county.

In the most active of all Eavenson suits, Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis--who is retiring Sept. 2--has set a Sept. 8 hearing on a summary judgment motion of Wausau General Insurance.

Wausau filed its motion June 23, under seal. The same day, Wausau filed a memorandum opposing class certification under seal.

For more than a year, Eavenson and ex-wife Laura Eavenson have battled over marital property in divorce court.

On April 15, Circuit Judge Nelson Metz ordered them to execute their 2004 tax returns and deposit refunds in an interest bearing account requiring both signatures.

On June 29, Metz ruled that Mark Eavenson used part of the refund to pay real estate taxes without Laura Eavenson's consent or court approval.

"All such funds shall be restored immediately," Metz ordered.

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