Four-month-long honeymoon is 'not some sinister plan' to delay deposition, attorney says

Steve Korris Aug. 24, 2007, 7:22am

Those who suspect that Chicago attorney Eric Freed stays out of the country to dodge a Lakin Law Firm deposition can adopt a more romantic picture of the situation.

Freed is just honeymooning - for the next four months.

Freed swore in an Aug. 20 verification by certification that he would marry in Colombia on Aug. 25 and travel in South America until Dec. 25.

He also explained where he went last spring, after Lakin lawyers served a deposition notice on him.

He wrote, "On April 4, 2007, I departed the United States for an extended trip to Israel. This trip had been planned for several months."

Attorney Michael Nester of Belleville submitted the statement to Madison County Associate Judge Richard Tognarelli on Aug. 21.

Nester asked Tognarelli to deny a Lakin motion for sanctions against Freed's firm, Freed and Weiss, for failing to bring him to a deposition.

Nester wrote, "Mr. Freed's recent travel schedule has not been the result of some sinister plan to forestall plaintiff's efforts to depose him."

He wrote, "To the contrary, Freed and Weiss made a good faith effort to provide plaintiff with several dates as soon as they became available."

Freed, returning to Chicago Aug. 5, offered the Lakins four dates in Chicago from Aug. 9 to Aug. 16. The Lakins rejected all four.

The Lakins and Freed and Weiss have sued each other in their home courts over the breakup of their partnership in class actions.

Each firm argues in the other's court that the case belongs back home.

In Cook County, Freed and Weiss seeks dissolution of the partnership.

In Madison County, the Lakins seek a constructive trust to hold fees that either firm received from class action settlements for later distribution.

Nester opposed the trust the same day he opposed sanctions.

He wrote that the Lakins misrepresented a material fact.

He wrote that a federal court in Oklahoma froze all the firm's assets after granting judgment of $3,752,601.80 against the firm.

He wrote that a constructive trust in Madison County circuit court would contravene the Oklahoma judgment.

He also argued that a judge cannot grant a constructive trust if there is an adequate remedy at law.

He wrote that the Lakins have adequate remedy because money damages would redress any loss of fees.

He wrote that the Lakins sought a trust on all Freed and Weiss income, not just the fees in dispute.

He wrote that the motion sought prejudgment attachment and added, "Prejudgment attachments, however, are abhorred under Illinois law."

He called the motion premature, grossly disproportionate, infirm, vague, conclusory and irrelevant.

Tognarelli set a hearing Friday, Aug. 24, on all pending motions.

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