Unsell files motion to dismiss Lakin countersuit
Attorney Ed Unsell claims Thomas Lakin's attorney asked for a settlement demand regarding the highly publicized civil sexual assault lawsuit filed against Lakin and his sons originally under seal on April 21 in Madison County Circuit Court.
On Thursday, Unsell and his clients filed motions to dismiss a $30 million countersuit lodged against them by Bradley Lakin, Kristopher Lakin and the Lakin Law Firm claiming the plaintiffs cannot prove malicious prosecution
Unsell states that Thomas Lakin's attorney, Bill Lucco of Edwardsville, asked that the sexual assault complaint be withdrawn and expunged. Thomas Lakin is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old boy, among other things, and his sons are accused of covering it up.
The Lakins claimed they are victims of a $50 million extortion scheme, according to a counter civil lawsuit filed in Madison County Circuit Court May 17.
Thomas Lakin is not part of the countersuit.
The motion to dismiss filed by Unsell claims the Lakins cannot prove a conspiracy to withdraw and expunge the lawsuit solely as an attempt to extort money because Lucco requested and obtained the withdrawal and expungement of the lawsuit.
"The prior lawsuit was withdrawn by Mr. Unsell on the condition that Mr. Lucco accept service on behalf of the Lakin defendants and the Lakin Law Firm when the suit was refiled," the motion states.
Copies of the letters Lucco sent to Unsell were included as exhibits with the motion.
The motion also states that Lucco requested a settlement demand, in which Unsell provided a copy of the letter, and a "global settlement."
In the letter, Lucco acknowledged that he expected to receive a "substantial settlement demand" from Unsell's clients.
It also states that, "Mr. Lucco was instrumental in obtaining the withdrawal of the lawsuit for the benefit of the plaintiff."
In his affidavit, Unsell claims a reporter told him that his newspaper was going to file a motion to unseal the case and Unsell then placed a call to Lucco who instructed Unsell to "do something quick."
Lucco thought the media would be able to convince a judge to unseal the case and wanted Unsell to withdraw the suit and have it expunged in order to protect the Lakins.
Unsell also claims the settlement demand was only made after Lucco asked for a "global settlement."
Unsell also is asking the court for sanctions against the Lakins and their attorney, Rex Carr of East St. Louis, because they violated the pleading requirements of Supreme Court Rule 137.
"Sanctions should be imposed against Bradley Lakin, Kristopher Lakin, the Lakin Law Firm and their attorneys Rex Carr and the Rex Carr Law Firm LLC because the allegations of malicious prosecution and abuse of process and extortion are false and unfounded," the motion states.
Unsell claims that based upon the allegations made in the countersuit, "it is evident Carr failed to undertake any reasonable inquiry to determine the allegations were true and well-grounded or if he was made aware of the facts."
Unsell claims Carr knowingly filed a false pleading with the court.
"Had Rex Carr and the attorneys at his firm who prepared and filed the complaint undertaken the necessary inquiry they could have determined that these allegations were unfounded," the motion for sanctions states.
It also states, "If an inquiry was made of William Lucco as to the foregoing facts and if Lucco advised plaintiffs' counsel of the material facts within his knowledge, the plaintiffs and their counsel knowingly filed a false pleading with this court."
The motion also claims that Unsell never promised to keep the lawsuit under seal if large sums of money were paid, the Lakins never refused to pay anything to the defendants, the lawsuit was withdrawn at Lucco's request and a demand for settlement was sent to Lucco because he repeatedly asked for one.
According to Unsell's affidavit, on May 4, Lucco asked him to withdraw the suit against the Lakins and asked him to expunge the case because he was fearful the press "would get wind" of the suit.
The motion also states, "The sole purpose of this lawsuit was to harass the defendants and their attorney and to prevent them from pursuing substantiated claims against the Lakins that are controversial and embarrassing."
"It is unconscionable for the Lakins to plead attempted extortion, when Mr. Lucco was authorized and did solicit a demand from Unsell and his clients.
"If this complaint is permitted to stand, then anytime a plaintiff withdraws a suit while engaging in settlement negotiations, the plaintiff and his attorney can be sued for malicious prosecution and abuse of process based on attempted extortion."
Unsell and his clients are represented by Robert Gregory of East Alton and Dan Konicek of Geneva.
Circuit Judge Daniel Stack will hear arguments on the motion. He was assigned the case after the Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian recused himself from the case.
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