United Life Insurance '01 class action settlement hearing canceled

Amelia Flood Feb. 4, 2011, 7:00am


A hearing on the $160,000 settlement of a 2001 class action against United Life Insurance Company has been canceled.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla had been set to hear final arguments on the settlement between the insurance company and a class led by lead plaintiff Christopher Booher today at 9:30 a.m.

However, the class attorney, Robert Schmieder II and his defense counter part, James Garrison, already made many of their pleas for final approval of the settlement last month.

Hylla asked Schmieder II to present added documentation of the $64,000 in fees that he and the rest of the class attorneys would take home before he would enter a ruling.

Schmieder II filed those documents last week.

The $160,000 settlement will go to an Illinois class of car buyers who bought credit insurance through United Life.

Booher and the class contend that had they known about commissions
United Life paid to the car dealerships selling the insurance they would have been able to negotiate better rates.

Class members will receive about $19.50 each.

Booher gets a class representative award of $2,500.

His attorneys, if Hylla approves the settlement, get $64,000.

United Life does not admit any fault under the agreement.

The case was originally certified as a national class action by then Madison County Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis.

The suit was one of a number filed by the then legal partnership of the Lakin Law Firm and the firm of Freed & Weiss.

The partnership fell apart in 2007.

The Wood River Lakin firm is now known as LakinChapman LLC.

Booher is a high school class mate of LakinChapman managing partner Bradley Lakin.

He has led at least one other Madison County class action.

In 2006, then-Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber trimmed the suit to an Illinois-only class.

Schmieder II acknowledged that the case had weakened over time.

He told Hylla at a January fairness hearing that the settlement, which resulted from mediation last year, was "an
extraordinary result" for class members.

Garrison told Hylla, when asked about the lack of any admission of fault at the same hearing, that his client was confident it could have won the case had it gone to a jury.

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

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