Tom Lakin deposition deadline set Nov. 6 in legal malpractice claim

Steve Korris Oct. 26, 2007, 1:24am


Lakin Law Firm founder Tom Lakin faces criminal trial in federal court at East St. Louis on morals charges in January, but nobody knows where to find him.

Suzanne Krause of Tennessee, who filed a legal malpractice suit against Lakin in Madison County last year, wishes to depose him but can't obtain his address.

Now she has produced evidence casting doubt on a statement by Lakin's attorneys that he lives in Florida.

Her attorneys suggest in a new court filing that they might give up on tracking Lakin down and wait to depose him while he stands trial.

Krause sued Lakin and the firm last year, claiming that due to their negligence she could not pursue a personal injury claim in Tennessee.

Lakin and the firm deny that they ever accepted Krause as a client.

In May, Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder denied Lakin's motion to dismiss the suit.

Since then Krause's attorneys, George Ripplinger and Patricia Zimmer of Belleville and William North and Kevin McQuillan of Downers Grove, have sought to depose Lakin.

Crowder signed an order in their favor Sept. 7, giving Lakin's attorneys seven days to file documents with regard to his location.

William Lucco of Edwardsville, one of Lakin's attorneys, submitted an affidavit stating that Lakin sold his Madison County home and was not an Illinois resident.

Lucco swore that Lakin was residing in Florida.

McQuillan challenged the affidavit Oct. 19.

"Mr. Lucco sets forth no facts upon which he bases his claims…," McQuillan wrote.

He wrote that Lucco's statements about Lakin residing in Florida rather than Illinois "are merely conclusions, not facts admissible as evidence."

"Once those portions of the affidavit have been stricken, defendant has no supporting documents to present as ordered by the court on September 7," McQuillan wrote.

He wrote that Krause has documents regarding Lakin's residence.

He attached a copy of Lakin's Illinois driving record, showing an address at 287 Oakley Place in East Alton.

He wrote that Lakin holds a valid Illinois license, good through May 21, 2009.

"It is a requirement to obtain a Florida driver's license that the applicant must surrender any out of state driver's license," McQuillan wrote.

He wrote that Florida allows an exception if a driver needs another license due to employment or part time residence elsewhere.

"Therefore, either Mr. Lakin has not sought a full Florida driver's license because he is not truly a resident of Florida or he has obtained a 'valid in Florida only driver's license' which would allow him to keep his Illinois driver's license but only after having made a showing of employment or part time residence" in Illinois, McQuillan wrote.

He wrote that because Lakin's trial is set for January, "…it is obvious that Mr. Lakin will be in the Southern District of Illinois for that trial and any trial preparation."

"Therefore, he would be available in Madison County for his deposition," McQuillan wrote.

Crowder signed an order Oct. 19, giving Lakin's attorneys seven days "to provide documentary evidence of residence, for the purpose of determining the location of Mr. Lakin's deposition."

She wrote that in all other respects, her Sept. 7 order would stand.

That order set a Nov. 6 deadline for Lakin's deposition.

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