Freed & Weiss and Campbell ordered to mediation in fee dispute
Former class action partners engaged in a series of disputes over fees are heading to mediation in St. Clair County.
The Freed & Weiss law firm of Chicago also is asking St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley to sanction defendant Timothy Campbell for a "fatally defective" motion to dismiss.
Campbell of Godfrey and Freed & Weiss were already ordered to mediate all of their standing disputes in Madison County by Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.
The parties, once partners with the Lakin Law Firm – now Lakin Chapman LLC -- had worked together to pursue cases in Madison and St. Clair counties.
That team fell apart in 2007.
Fee battles have erupted ever since.
In Freed & Weiss's suit filed last year, the firm alleges that Campbell dissuaded class action clients from keeping Freed & Weiss as their co-counsel as the class action partnership disintegrated.
The Chicago firm seeks compensatory damages of at least $450,000 and punitive damages.
Meanwhile, Campbell had already sued Freed & Weiss over fees from the class action partnership's work in 2008.
It is one of at least two such suits pending in Madison County.
However, Stack ordered the parties to mediate all of their disputes on March 9.
Twenty one days later, O'Malley ordered the attorneys to mediate the 2009 St. Clair case.
According to the order signed March 30, retired St. Clair County Judge James Radcliffe will serve as mediator.
On the same day, Freed & Weiss filed a motion asking O'Malley to strike a motion to dismiss the suit filed in October 2009 by Campbell.
The firm calls the motion "fatally defective," citing issues including its length.
Campbell's Oct. 16, 2009 motion to dismiss the suit is a single sentence stating that Freed & Weiss failed to state a claim in its suit.
The March 30 motion alleges that Campbell filed the motion to dismiss to harass his former partners.
"It states no basis whatsoever in either facts or law, and can only have been intended as harassing," the motion reads.
Freed & Weiss ask that O'Malley award them their costs and fees for preparing the motion to strike as a sanction for Campbell's "wasteful, vexatious and harassing pleading."
In the March 30 order, O'Malley also denied a motion for change of venue filed by Campbell. Campbell had claimed that Madison County was a more convenient venue.
A status hearing in the case is set May 17 at 10 a.m.
In the St. Clair County suit, Campbell is represented by Terry Brown of Belleville. He is represented by John Hoefert of Godfrey in the Madison County suit before Stack.
Richard Burke of St. Louis represented Freed & Weiss in their various disputes.
The St. Clair County case number is 09-L-205.
The Madison County case where Stack ordered the parties to mediate is Madison case number 08-L-364.