Matoesian 'do-si-dos' class action out of Madison County
Like boys and girls in a square dance, plaintiffs and defendants paired off in a ceremony shutting down a proposed class action suit over workers compensation premiums.
Instead of filing a single stipulation with every plaintiff dismissing every defendant, attorneys chose to let each plaintiff dismiss a defendant or two.
Calling the tune Nov. 13, Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian accepted the stipulations and closed the case.
Lisa Kernan of Korein Tillery in St. Louis filed the suit in 2004, accusing insurers of overcharging for workers comp.
In three months both sides packed the record with memos, motions and exhibits. The case filled a manila folder and most of a second.
As soon as the insurers moved to dismiss, the case stalled.
Last year Circuit Judge George Moran disqualified himself from the case.
Chief Judge Edward Ferguson assigned it to Circuit Judge Don Weber, but plaintiffs moved for substitution.
In Illinois any party can substitute a judge once without cause, if the judge has not made a significant ruling.
Ferguson assigned Matoesian. He set a case management conference in March, but the parties continued it.
He reset it for April, but again they continued it.
In November they told Matoesian they had agreed to dismiss the case.
To start the ceremony, lead plaintiff Berco Construction dismissed American International Group and a subsidiary, American Home Assurance.
Fabritech dismissed Ohio Casualty Insurance.
Alton Securities Group dismissed Pekin Insurance.
Wise & Julian law firm dismissed American States Insurance.
Ted's Motorcycle World dismissed Federated Mutual Insurance.
Phone Masters Ltd. dismissed Milwaukee Insurance, formerly Milwaukee Mutual.
Three defendants still awaited partners, so three plaintiffs doubled up.
Wise & Julian dismissed Zurich Insurance.
Phone Masters Ltd. dismissed Westport Insurance.
Berco dismissed West American Insurance Company.
The stipulations offered no details of the settlement, but the defendants did not have to pay the legal bills of the plaintiffs.
Matoesian ordered each side to bear their own fees and costs.