Hearing moved in Big Sky settlement as attorneys confer

Amelia Flood Feb. 1, 2010, 8:33am


A hearing on a motion to modify a $22 million telephone class action settlement has been moved to Feb. 16.

Defendants Illinois Bell Telephone Company (AT&T Illinois) and Ameritech Corp. are asking Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to allow them to keep any unclaimed funds from the settlement.

According to Stack's Nov. 10 order that settled the case, the funds would go to the clerk's office for use as part of the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.

Both parties in the suit are seeking to appeal that order.

The plaintiffs had sought a settlement of closer to $30 million.

The case stems from a $90 million settlement mandated by the Illinois State Legislature over seven years ago. The settlement was to correct overcharges the companies made.

Plaintiff Big Sky Excavating led a class in a suit against the companies in 2003 alleging that certain customers were favored over others in the disbursement of the settlement funds.

The Theiss Law Firm P.C. was later added as another lead plaintiff.

Then-Madison County Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis certified the class in 2004. He found that the settlement violated the state's constitution.

Kardis was later reversed by the State Supreme Court.

Stack granted the plaintiffs summary judgment last February. In that ruling, he granted the lead plaintiffs $10,000 each.

Plaintiff attorneys Glenn Bradford and Terrence O'Leary earned just under $8 million in fees.

The defendants are represented by John Papa and others.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-715.

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