Of filing deadlines...

The Madison County Record Nov. 20, 2005, 4:58am

Judge George Moran

Brad Lakin

Tick, tock

Third Circuit Judge George Moran, Jr. plans to run for retention next year, sans the endorsement of Madison County’s Democratic Party. He officially filed the requisite papers on Halloween.

But sources tell Dicta that Moran—a judge for more than two decades with a fully-vested state pension—is reserving the right to have second thoughts. Democrat party officials, at least, are hoping he has them later rather than sooner.

If Moran bows out before Dec. 3, Republican State Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier will get to name a replacement for the remainder of his term, until Nov. 2006. If he were to quit after that date but before the end of his term, an appointed replacement would serve until Nov. 2008.

Either/or, with GOP Judge Don Weber already getting cozy on the Third Circuit bench, presents an unwanted confrontation for Democrats, who would have to challenge two sitting Republican incumbents.

Another potential scenario, say sources, has announced Weber challenger and Edwardsville plaintiff’s attorney Dave Hylla replacing Moran in exchange for a “truce” that would leave Weber unchallenged in 2006.

Educated conjecture

Moran’s non-endorsement by the county party came without explanation. But folks have their theories.

One is derived from two recent dismissals by the judge of class action cases filed by prominent local law firms in his courtroom.

On Sept. 28, Moran tossed a class action case brought by Edwardsville’s Goldenberg, Miller, Heller, and Antognoli. Then on Nov. 2, he dismissed another brought by the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.

Relevant or not, sources tell Dicta that class action plaintiffs assigned to Moran are indeed moving to substitute judges if they have the chance.

The jet set

There exist certain folks—doctors, paramedics, and airplane pilots, to name a few—into whose hands we put our lives on a regular basis. May God bless them.

So color us perturbed that St. Louis-based plaintiffs attorneys Gerald Schneller and Eric Holland, uninjured in a 2003 Lear Jet crash, still chose to sue the pilots who saved their lives.

According to an NTSB report of the incident, both lawyers reported “no injuries” after the plane crash landed near Cahokia. Both pilots sustained “serious injuries,” but still managed to “assist passengers out the emergency window exit and away from the wreckage” before it went up in flames.

The lawyers, who can afford to pay $4,000 per hour for their own plane rather than fly Southwest like the rest of us, are suing the pilots for “psychological trauma” and “emotional distress” in St. Clair County court.

Why cannot some people just leave it at "thank you"?

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