Freed & Weiss is backing off Madison County class actions

Steve Korris May 23, 2007, 11:00am

Freed & Weiss of Chicago has begun withdrawing from Madison County class actions that it helped the Lakin Law Firm litigate.

Freed & Weiss has also promised to deliver backup tapes to the Lakins.

The Lakins sought the withdrawals and the tapes in a suit they filed against Freed & Weiss in January.

The Lakins claimed plaintiffs signed letters terminating Freed & Weiss.

The Lakins filed suit in chancery court, where unelected associate judges handle cases. Associate Judge Richard Tognarelli took the assignment.

Freed & Weiss moved for transfer to Cook County, arguing that Madison County was an inconvenient forum.

Tognarelli denied the motion in April.

Freed & Weiss then elected to give the Lakins what they wanted.

On May 10 the firm's attorney, Michael Nester of Belleville, moved to withdraw from a class action in U.S. District Court at East St. Louis.

On May 15, Nester wrote to Tognarelli that Freed & Weiss would begin filing motions to withdraw from Madison County cases.

Nester attached a copy of the withdrawal from the federal case.

Nester wrote that Freed & Weiss disputed that the Lakins were entitled to the withdrawals and the tapes.

"Freed & Weiss nevertheless wishes to avoid the costs and distractions of protracted litigation," Nester wrote.

He wrote that Freed & Weiss reserved all rights, claims, remedies and defenses in all disputes between the firms.

Two days later Freed & Weiss moved to withdraw from a class action that chiropractor Frank Bemis filed against Zurich Services in 2005.

Circuit Judge Daniel Stack set the motion for hearing July 25.

Although Freed & Weiss conceded two victories to the Lakins, the Chicago firm scored once before the week ended.

On May 18, Richard Burke entered an appearance "of counsel" for Freed & Weiss, in a Lakin class action against Allied Property and Casualty.

Burke has sued the Lakins in federal court at East St. Louis for firing him. Since leaving the Lakins he has associated with Freed & Weiss.

In the Allied case, chiropractor plaintiffs Gerald Bemis and Mark Eavenson have elected to stick with the Lakins.

A third plaintiff, Acuna Physical Therapy, prefers Freed & Weiss.

Burke will represent Acuna.

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