Lakins settle with Lloyd's in legal malpractice case

Steve Gonzalez and Steve Korris Sep. 13, 2007, 7:39am

Lloyd's Illinois and underwriters at Lloyd's London have settled a suit the Lakin Law Firm filed against them in a legal malpractice case.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder signed an order Sept. 6, granting a Lakin motion to dismiss Lloyd's with prejudice.

Affinity Insurance Services and the Norton and Rain Insurance agency (NRI) remain as defendants.

The Lakins sued for coverage of an order from a federal judge in Oklahoma awarding about $4 million to former Lakin client Stephen Williams.

The Lakins obtained a settlement for Williams and structured the payout so he would receive regular payments for many years.

The Lakins entrusted the payout to investor James Gibson, who for years piled up payouts from clients of the Lakins and other firms.

Gibson looted the funds and fled to Belize.

Today he occupies a prison cell.

Last year Williams sued the Lakins in U.S. district court at Tulsa, for recommending Gibson.

The Lakins did not respond, so this year Chief Judge Claire Eagan granted a $3,752,601.80 default judgment in favor of Williams.

She assessed costs in an undetermined amount. She started charging interest at 4.97 percent, which has added about $80,000 to the total.

Norton and Rain allege The Lakin Law Firm's claim against them is barred because the Lakin firm was negligent, not them.

In their answer filed Sept. 6, NRI claims the Lakin firm was negligent by failing to notify the ISBA of the Williams lawsuit and failed to protect their interests so the default judgment would not even be entered against them.

In the alternative, NRI asserts the Lakin firms damages should be reduced in proportion to its own negligence.

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