Class action against United Life Insurance set for preliminary approval

Amelia Flood Jul. 27, 2010, 6:14am


A Madison County class action that once encompassed a nationwide pool of car buyers who claim they unknowingly bought credit insurance is set for initial arguments in favor of its settlement.

Circuit Judge David Hylla will preside at the preliminary settlement approval hearing in a 2001 class action brought against United Life Insurance Company.

The hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. on July 29.

Lead plaintiff Christopher Booher of Wood River filed suit in 2001 alleging the insurance company committed sales fraud when it sold credit insurance to car buyers.

The class was estimated at one point by plaintiff's counsel Daniel Cohen of LakinChapman to include at least 60,000 car buyers nationwide.

Booher played summer baseball and went to high school with Bradley
Lakin, the managing attorney at Cohen's firm.

Booher was the lead plaintiff in at least one other Madison County suit against General Motors.

Then-Madison County Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis certified a
nationwide class in the case in 2003. Kardis retired in 2005.

The case then went to then-Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber.

Although United Life Insurance moved to decertify the class, Weber allowed the suit to continue but dropped the 44 other states from it, leaving only an Illinois class.

The case eventually found its way to Hylla, who has refereed discovery and other disputes in the case.

The case went through mediation in December 2009, according to case management orders in the case file.

Two months later, parties in the suit indicated to Hylla that mediation was successful, according to a Feb. 24 order.

Settlement documents are not yet available in the case file.

Richard Boyle and others represent United Life Insurance.

Four Flags Motors Inc. was formerly a defendant but has been dismissed from the case.

The case is Madison case number 01-L-1824.

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