Appellate court declares Callis winner over Tillery in substitution stance

Steve Korris Apr. 25, 2008, 1:19am



In a test of wills between Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis and attorney Stephen Tillery of St. Louis, the Fifth District appellate court declared Callis the winner.

The Fifth District dismissed Tillery's claim that Callis exceeded her authority when she banned multiple substitutions of judges by class action plaintiffs.

Justices Stephen Spomer, Melissa Chapman and Bruce Stewart agreed they lacked jurisdiction to hear Tillery's argument.

Callis, upon taking the chief's robe in 2006, adopted a local rule allowing a single substitution without cause in class actions.

Under Illinois law, any party can substitute one judge for cause, if the judge has not made a significant ruling.

To win a second substitution, a party must show cause.

Tillery, who had achieved multiple substitutions by filing motions on behalf of different plaintiffs, warned Callis in August 2006 that he would challenge the rule.

His associate, Aaron Zigler, informed Callis that she deprived plaintiffs of a statutory right and thereby violated the Illinois Constitution's separation of powers.

He wrote, "…courts cannot legislate, overwrite or extend legislation."

To press his point at no risk, Tillery picked a case he had already lost.

He moved to substitute Circuit Judge Daniel Stack from a suit the Fifth District had remanded to him with instructions to dismiss.

Last October, Stack denied the motion.

Tillery appealed, to no avail.

Again the case returned to Stack, but he did not drop the ax.

Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn signed an order dismissing the case April 18.

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