In light of Madison County sunshine, Weber lifts blinds on sealed docs

Steve Korris Aug. 24, 2006, 12:26pm

Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber has ordered the unsealing of two briefs that insurer AIG filed under seal in defending a proposed Lakin Law Firm class action.

Weber on Aug. 18 directed the circuit clerk to unseal the briefs on Aug. 25, if no one took exception to his decision.

AIG filed a memorandum under seal Aug. 2, opposing a motion to certify chiropractors Mark Eavenson and Andrew Morningstar as representatives of a plaintiff class.

The chiropractors claim AIG improperly reduced payouts on treatments of patients with injuries from accidents.

AIG filed an answer to their complaint Aug. 4, under seal.

AIG locked both briefs in a courthouse cabinet.

In the process AIG apparently ran afoul of a rule Chief Judge Ann Callis adopted in May, allowing the sealing of documents only as authorized by court order.

Weber has set a Sept. 21 hearing on the Lakin firm's motion to certify a class action.

Meanwhile, in another proposed class action over AIG payouts, Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron has allowed a brief of the Lakin firm to remain under seal.

In Byron's case, AIG moved for summary judgment and plaintiff Kerry Hanke filed his response Aug. 3, under seal.

Byron set a hearing on summary judgment Aug. 18, but Hanke and AIG agreed to continue it.

The delay probably will cause a postponement of Byron's scheduled Sept. 15 hearing on the Lakin firm's motion to certify a class action.

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