Lakin firm dusts off idle Household Finance class action

Steve Korris Nov. 28, 2008, 1:28am

Lakin Law Firm class action attorneys have rediscovered a Madison County suit they ignored for so long that the docket shows retired judge Lola Maddox presiding over it.

Mark Brown served interrogatories and document requests on Household Financial Services on Nov. 14, in a suit that hadn't advanced an inch since 2004.

Lakin clients Paul Wratchford and Ladonna Wratchford sued Household Financial in 2003, claiming it improperly added interest when borrowers prepaid mortgages.

They calculated their damage at $79.28.

They alleged unjust enrichment and breach of contract, and they proposed to certify a class of borrowers in Illinois and other states for loans since 1993.

Household Financial didn't answer, and the Wratchfords moved for default judgment.

Circuit Judge Philip Kardis granted the motion in 2003, and in 2004 he certified a class and entered summary judgment in its favor.

He ruled that class members would calculate damage the way the
Wratchfords did.

Household Financial appeared at last, and moved to vacate judgment.

Household Financial claimed it never received a summons or a copy of the complaint.

Kardis retired in 2005, without ruling on the motion to vacate.

Circuit Judge Don Weber took the case, and in 2006 the Lakins moved for substitution.

In Illinois any party can substitute a judge without cause, once only, if the judge has not made a significant ruling.

The case bounced to Maddox, but her time on the bench had nearly run out.

She retired without holding a hearing or taking any other action on the case.

Her name stayed on it, but new activity will require a new assignment.

Brown filed a certificate of service for his information requests, but he did not file the requests in the court record.

He identified Brad Lakin, Paul Marks of the Lakin firm, Timothy Campbell of Godfrey, and Chicago lawyers Paul Weiss, Phillip Bock and Robert Hatch as plaintiff counsel.

He identified William Lucco of Edwardsville and Chicago lawyers Nathan Eimer, Adam Deutsch and Vanessa Jacobsen as defense counsel.

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