Attorneys net $125,000 in Household Financial class action settlement

Amelia Flood Mar. 25, 2010, 9:00am


After securing a $100,000 settlement for members of a class action suit over mortgage interest fees, the attorneys walked away with $125,000 in fees.

According to the settlement document in the case, LakinChapman will collect the fees while the lead plaintiffs in the case, Paul and LaDonna Wratchford, will receive $2,500 collectively.

Each class member in the suit will receive about $10.

The Wratchfords led the suit against Household Financial Services Inc. in 2003, alleging they were overcharged on interest payments by the company.

The suit was one of a string of similar class actions filed in Madison County by then partner law firms, the Lakin Law Firm – now LakinChapman – and the Chicago firm of Freed & Weiss.

That partnership fell apart in 2007 although a number of the suits the two firms filed remain pending in Madison County.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder gave the settlement the initial go-ahead March 18 after making attorneys from both sides fix what she described as vague sections of the settlements.

The attorneys had to specify what charity would receive left over funds from the settlement, change the window in which class members could file corrected claim paperwork and Household Financial posted a bond to guarantee the settlement amount.

Crowder is at least the third Madison County judge to oversee the suit. Then Madison County Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis gave it the initial go ahead and it was later assigned to former Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

The original class counsel, Gary Peel, is now serving time in prison.

The class was represented by Paul Marks, Mark Brown and others.

The defendant is represented by Debra Zahalsky and Vanessa Jacobsen.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-541.

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