What goes around...

The Madison County Record May 21, 2006, 4:22am

Reporting wild allegations is our daily business here at The Record. But that doesn't mean we weren't also taken aback by the stunning case of local father-and-son power plaintiff's lawyers Tom and Bradley Lakin.

You all know the sordid details as they've been reported so far. Please take it from us that, no matter how sick and disturbing they read, it's merely one side of the story.

That's the thing with civil lawsuits. The complaint--- and we cover dozens of them here each week-- is just the accuser's take. It's no doubt difficult to have sympathy for defendants as greedy and arrogant as the Lakins, but we do. This case shouldn't be tried in the press and these serious charges shouldn't be used as a mere club to leverage a high dollar pay-off from these wealthy men and their successful Wood River law firm.

Of course, the Lakins will be quite familiar with the tactic they face, considering that suing and then using publicity as a threat to squeeze big cash settlements out of deep-pocketed defendants has been core to their business model. In Madison County, if their firm didn't invent the practice they perfected it, filing so many of those class action lawsuits that bear responsibility for building our "Hellhole" reputation.

Amidst a career of professional accusing, it's something new to be accused. Life in the crosshairs is no fun, and it surely doesn't compare to the Lakins' preferred position, with one eye flush against the scope.

Not that lawyers quickly learn new tricks. In the first of what we expect will be many "pot calling the kettle" moments as this saga plays out, Brad Lakin responded to charges against him by doing what he does best. He filed his own lawsuit against the accusers late last week, alleging they abused court procedures and tried to "extort large sums of money" out of his firm.

Lakin hired fellow victimologist Rex Carr to represent him, who always makes things interesting, but we have some better advice.

He might dial up the defense counsels of some of those companies he's sued over the years to see how they dealt with his wild charges against their clients. How did they decide whether to fight it out in court, or just pay Lakin off to make things go away?

Brad, after all that experience you gave them, we're sure they'd love to hear from you.

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