Lakin says Burke's suit replete with 'impertinence' and 'scandal'

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 5, 2007, 3:13pm

Brad Lakin

Richard Burke

Attorneys for Brad Lakin and his law firm filed a motion with U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan to strike portions of a lawsuit filed against the firm by a former attorney who was fired in January.

According to the motion, Lakin claims Richard Burke's suit is part of a scheme to lure clients and employees away from the Lakin law firm and to further his financial interests with the Chicago based Freed & Weiss law firm.

Burke filed suit Jan. 29, claiming his attempt to protect the interests of plaintiffs from persistent Lakin family scandals led to his firing and the loss of a $500,000 annual bonus.

Burke claims that after a civil sexual assault lawsuit was filed against Thomas Lakin, Bradley Lakin, Kristopher Lakin and the firm in May 2006, he told Bradley Lakin that a plan should be developed to protect the interests of the certified and putative classes in the event that Bradley Lakin or the Lakin firm were indicted by a grand jury.

Burke said he also discussed the possibilities of Bradley Lakin and the firm being sanctioned by the Illinois Bar for unethical conduct.

Burke claims he told Brad Lakin that adverse publicity could taint jury pools in Madison and St. Clair counties.

He accuses Lakin and the firm of breach of contract, fraud and tortuous interference with contract and/or business expectancy.

"The determination that Plaintiff was acting against the interests of Defendant, under the guise of concerns about allegations against Defendant Bradley Lakin's father, led to the termination of Plaintiff's employment," Lakin's motion states. "These matters will be addressed as evidence is adduced in further proceedings in
this litigation."

Lakin claims Burke's complaint is replete with allegations which are redundant, immaterial, impertinent and scandalous.

"Plaintiff refers repeatedly to a public scandal regarding the personal conduct of Defendant Lakin's father (who is not a party to this action) and states that Defendant Lakin and the Lakin Law Firm are involved in that scandal, even though such allegations have no bearing on Plaintiff's claims," the motion states.

"Plaintiff also includes in his allegations his own personal speculation regarding criminal and ethical charges against Defendant Lakin, even though there is no allegation that any such charges have been filed," the motion states.

Lakin also claims Burke makes baseless allegations regarding disciplinary complaints against other attorneys at the Lakin Law Firm, who are not parties in the suit and grand jury subpoenas for unspecified individuals.

He also claims Burke includes a number of speculative and groundless allegations regarding his representation of class clients and the competency of the Lakin Law Firm to serve as class counsel in class action litigation pending in other jurisdictions.

"Plaintiff's allegations relating to personal scandals of Defendant Lakin's father, and grand jury proceedings that took place in the past related to that scandal, as well as his speculative claims of disciplinary complaints, subpoenas, and resignations of other members of the Lakin Law Firm, should be stricken because they are as unprofessional, harassing and irrelevant to this litigation," the motion states.

Lakin claims Burke intended to harass and cast a derogatory light on him and his firm.

Attorneys James Foster, John Renick and Michelle Cain of McMahon Berger in St. Louis entered an appearance for the Lakin firm.

On March 5, St. Clair County Democratic Chairman and attorney Bob Sprague entered his appearance on behalf of Brad Lakin.

Burke is represented by Chet Pleban of St. Louis.

Reagan has not scheduled a hearing on Lakin's motion.

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