Florida bound Lakin attorney surprises defense attorneys at MC hearing

Steve Korris Dec. 14, 2006, 12:43pm

Paul Marks

Paul Marks of the Lakin Law Firm swears that a week before the Nov. 7 election he did not know Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber commented on the Lakin firm at a campaign appearance in September.

Apparently Marks thinks this explains how he could show up for a hearing on his own emergency motion after telling defense attorneys he had to go to Orlando that day and needed to postpone a hearing on their motion.

His surprise appearance irritated attorneys David Permut of Washington and Douglas Stultz of Edwardsville, representing Countrywide Home Loans.

They pointed out his inconsistency in their pleadings, so Marks filed his affidavit.

The fuss revolves around an absurd effort of the Lakin firm to force Weber off its cases – after he has left office.

A year ago the Lakin firm tried to remove Weber from all its cases for cause, claiming he held bias against the firm.

In March Chief Judge Edward Ferguson denied substitution for cause.

That allowed Weber to keep a group of Lakin cases, including a proposed class action against Countrywide Home Loans.

In that suit plaintiff Todd Morgan claims he paid excessive courier fees when he closed a mortgage.

Countrywide moved in June for summary judgment, claiming Morgan paid voluntarily.

In September Weber, campaigning for a full term after replacing Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis by appointment, told the League of Women Voters of Edwardsville that he said no to the Lakin firm and no one ever did that before.

For Countrywide, Weber set a Nov. 9 hearing on summary judgment.

Marks called Permut and Stultz on Oct. 31, to postpone the Nov. 9 hearing. Permut and Stultz agreed to a Nov. 16 hearing.

On Nov. 8 the Lakin firm filed an emergency motion to allow discovery of UPS billing records.

Weber held a hearing Nov. 9. Marks showed up. Weber granted the motion and pushed the summary judgment hearing back to Nov. 21.

On Nov. 20, Lakin moved to substitute Weber, claiming his campaign statements proved his bias. The motion forced cancellation of the hearing.

Weber left office Dec. 1. The case passed to newly elected Circuit Judge David Hylla.

Marks filed his affidavit Dec. 4. He wrote that on Oct. 31 he told Permut and Stultz he would travel to Orlando Nov. 2 through Nov. 4.

The dates do not match the record. Perhaps Marks meant Nov. 9 through Nov. 11.

The affidavit then blamed Permut and Stultz for the delay.

Marks wrote, "I had still not received the documents requested from defendant necessary to prepare the opposition brief."

He wrote, "Also on October 31, 2006, I did not know Judge Weber's September 2006 comments regarding the Lakin Law Firm made at the League of women Voters Edwardsville Area Forum."

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