Millar can't take H&R case away from LakinChapman

Steve Korris Feb. 13, 2009, 5:10am

Jeff Millar grabbed three Madison County class actions on his way out of the former Lakin Law Firm a few weeks ago, but one slipped from his grasp on Feb. 6.

Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn denied his motion to replace LakinChapman as class counsel in a suit against tax preparer H & R Block.

Millar produced a letter from client Lorie Marshall discharging the Lakins and keeping him, but it didn't impress Mendelsohn.

He wrote that the motion came from Millar and not from Marshall.

"There is no assertion of any inadequacy," he wrote.

"There is no reason to appoint additional class counsel as the class is adequately represented," he wrote.

Circuit Judge Dave Hylla must decide an identical dispute, for Marshall maintains a different suit against H & R Block in his court.

Hylla has set a Feb. 27 hearing on Millar's motion.

In the third case Millar aimed to keep, a certified class action against telephone company Sprint, Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth set a Feb. 20 hearing for Millar.

Ruth can anticipate fireworks.

At a hearing he held in December, Brad Lakin and former employee Richard Burke clashed over a settlement that Burke's team reached in a similar suit in New Jersey.

Lakin wanted Ruth to stop a hearing in progress at Newark, and Ruth suspended the hearing to call U. S. District Judge Jose Linares.

After the conversation, Ruth chose not to interfere in New Jersey.

Like Marshall, Sprint plaintiff Jessica Hall of Pontoon Beach signed a letter in January discharging the Lakin firm and keeping Millar.

She retracted the choice after Millar sought to represent her in New Jersey.

She signed an affidavit for Linares on Feb. 3 swearing she wouldn't have kept Millar if she had known he would associate with Burke.

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