Four firms to share $250k fee in six-year-old class action

Steve Korris Jun. 26, 2008, 5:26am

Judge Byron

In a faint echo of Madison County's class action craze, the Lakin Law Firm and three other firms settled a suit against Accredited Home Lenders for $10 payments to borrowers and a $250,000 legal fee.

Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron approved the settlement June 6, in a suit the Lakins filed for Paul Wratchford and LaDonna Wratchford in 2002.

The Wratchfords claimed that when they closed a home loan, Accredited charged a $20.90 courier fee, spent less than that on a courier and unlawfully kept the difference.

Byron certified the suit as a class action in 2005, a few days before Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act to curb class litigation.

Later that year, the Illinois Supreme Court knocked the props out from under class actions in Avery v. State Farm, reversing a $1.2 billion verdict from Williamson County.

The settlement with Accredited shows how the value of a class certification order has shrunk in three and a half years.

Rather than create a settlement fund, Accredited simply agreed to send a $10 check to anyone who submits a valid claim.

Instead of awarding the customary $5,000 to each class representative, Accredited awarded $5,000 for Paul and LaDonna Wratchford to share.

The Lakins will share the $250,000 fee with their associates at Freed and Weiss of Chicago, Tim Campbell of Godfrey, and Diab and Bock of Chicago.

Bruce Allensworth and Andrew Glass of Boston represented Accredited, along with local counsel Kevin Babb of Edwardsville.

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