Class king's divorce settles in Madison County

Steve Korris Nov. 21, 2006, 7:45am

Class action king Mark Eavenson, facing 97 witnesses against him in a divorce trial, settled at the last minute for $850,000.

He promised to pay that much for half of Multi-Care Specialists, the chiropractic business he and wife Laura Eavenson owned in Granite City.

Associate Judge Nelson Metz, who had set trial to begin Nov. 13, instead presided over the settlement. He dissolved the marriage.

Mark Eavenson will provide monthly maintenance of $5,000 for five years.

The agreement obligates him in other ways but it does not wipe him out. He gets to live in a more expensive house and he can keep driving fancy cars.

She takes the Auto Spa car wash in Glen Carbon. He takes the one in Granite City.

In advance of the trial Laura Eavenson's attorney, David Fahrenkamp of Edwardsville, identified 97 witnesses who would testify.

The list included Kelly Suhre, who shares Mark Eavenson's Edwardsville address. Fahrenkamp wrote that Suhre would testify about a $32,000 engagement ring

Fahrenkamp also planned to call Blake Suhre of Lake Forest, Ill., to testify about support and stocks.

Fahrenkamp served a subpoena on Colin Suhre, the 14-year-old son of Kelly Suhre, for testimony about gifts, travel, support and the remodeling of his home.

Kelly Suhre, through attorney Gordon Broom of Edwardsville, moved to quash the subpoena on Colin. The settlement rendered the motion moot.

Neither the settlement agreement nor Mark Eavenson's Nov. 13 position statement mentions his class action suits as potential assets.

The Lakin Law Firm proposed in 24 suits to certify him as representative of medical providers who received less than they allegedly deserved from insurers.

The Lakin firm filed most of his suits in 2003, at the peak of the class action craze.

In each suit the difference between what Eavenson billed and what the insurer paid amounted to about the price of a sandwich.

No judge certified any of the suits as a class action. The Lakin firm settled most of them. Four remain open.

Class action law assumes that class representatives devote some energy to their cases, but the Lakin firm obviously expected very little energy from Mark Eavenson.

No one can pay proper attention to 24 complex lawsuits while treating patients, running a clinic, managing dozens of employees and coping with tenants.

On top of that, Mark Eavenson's shotgun suits made a mockery of litigation.

Though he claimed insurers constantly cheated him, he and Laura Eavenson lacked nothing that money could buy.

In Granite City they owned Multi-Care and its building, their home on Cobblestone Lane, a house with two empty lots, an apartment building, three condominiums with a vacant lot behind them, and the home of his parents, Joe and June Eavenson.

They also owned a condo in Scottsdale, Ariz.

After they split he bought a home in Edwardsville for $580,000. His position statement valued his former home, now Laura Eavenson's, at $445,500.

Multi-Care owned a 2005 Mercedes S55 that Mark Eavenson drove, a 2005 Cadillac DeVille his parents drove, and a 2005 BMW 645 that daughter Ashley drove.

Auto Spa owned a 2005 GMC pickup, a 2003 Jeep Wrangler and a 2003 BMW X5.

As individuals Mark and Laura Eavenson owned a 2001 Porsche, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro and a 1999 GMC Savanna van.

According to the position statement Mark Eavenson's parents are employed by Multi-Care and daughter Ashley receives paychecks from Multi-Care and Auto Spa.

Laura Eavenson planned to call the parents to testify about their jobs. She also planned to ask Kelly Suhre about duties for which she received Multi-Care paychecks.

Laura Eavenson planned to call 11 Multi-Care employees and 24 other individuals with connections to it, down to the cleaning lady.

She planned to call 30 Auto Spa employees.

She planned to call attorneys Mark Goldenberg and Dave Antognoli of Edwardsville, to testify about corporations and trusts.

She planned to call car dealer Dan Rath of Plaza Motors in Creve Coeur, Mo.

The settlement relieved all the witnesses of their obligations to testify.

In the agreement, Laura Eavenson took the Granite City home, the Arizona condo, the apartment building and one of the Granite City condos.

Mark Eavenson took the Multi-Care property, the other two Granite City condos with the lot behind them, and the home of his parents.

Laura Eavenson took the GMC van and the Wrangler. Mark Eavenson took the Mercedes, the Cadillac, the Porsche, the GMC pickup and the Camaro.

Ashley's parents agreed that she was entitled to drive the BMWs, with her father covering the monthly payments and insurance.

Her father also agreed to pay tuition, room and board for her at St. Louis University, as long as she keeps a C average.

Mark Eavenson agreed to pay Laura Eavenson's medical insurance for three years.

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