Most Quotable Person of the Year
Thomas Maag, of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, earns the Record's honor as the most quotable newsmaker of the year. Some examples:
"Your honor," Maag loudly said during an October hearing in Turner vs. ITI Internet, a Madison County class action suit. "I call to the stand Virgil P. Llapitan."
Llapitan, president of ITI Internet, did not respond to Maag's call. He was 2,000 miles away, attending to business at the company's office in Tacoma, Wash.
A notice to produce Llapitan was dated Saturday, Oct. 22, said Llapitan's attorney Mark Bauman of Belleville. He first saw the notice Monday, Oct. 24. The hearing was Oct. 26.
In movies with absurd courtroom plots, the climax often involves a judge whose patient questioning draws him ever deeper into hopeless perplexity.
Such is the class action case of Sandra Ragan vs. AT&T, afflicting Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian in true film fashion. The appellate court volleyed the complex matter back to Matoesian.
Ragan's exasperated attorney, Thomas Maag, described correspondence he received in the suit as "gobbledygook."
"American Arbitration Association responded with letters that could only be described as gobbledygook," said Maag.
He also called the letters "gibberish."
Roll the dice
Armettia Peach sued Granite City and won a $104,000 default judgment because the city approved a home inspection in spite of alleged defects, and because the city allegedly did not answer the complaint.
She is represented by Thomas Maag.
"Granite City has a long history of ignoring cases, and then complaining when something bad happens," Maag wrote after the order was signed. He wrote that Peach tried to negotiate but the city refused.
He added that Granite City wanted to roll the dice.
"Se le vie!" he wrote.
How to become the 'most quotable'
Kevin Link, the Granite City home remodeler who became entangled in a legal web woven by Armettia Peach--represented by Thomas Maag--said the attorney acted as if he was a "friend" when they first talked.
"I thought if he was honest and sincere about truth and justice, he would understand that this suit was totally out of bounds," Link said. "If he was dishonest, at least he would check it out and drop it.
"I guess I was kind of naïve," he said. "It didn't matter to him if I was innocent or guilty."
According to Link, Maag told him he would not drop the suit because that was how he made his living.
"I asked him if there wasn't maybe a better way to make a living," Link said.
Maag offered to settle.
"He talked to me like he was my friend," Link said. "He told me it could drag out six years and the legal fees would add up."
Case pending in appeal.
Steve Korris contributed to this report.