St. Clair County car insurance class action settlement gets initial approval

Amelia Flood Mar. 23, 2011, 1:50pm



A St. Clair County class action suit filed two years ago over car insurance that class members claimed was "worthless" may be over shortly.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien gave preliminary approval on Feb. 10 to two sub-classes of car insurance policy holders in a case led by Lesley Schaeperkoetter.

In the settlement, Schaeperkoetter would receive $2,000 as class representative.

The class attorneys Robert Schmieder II, Bradley Lakin and Robert Evola of Wood River would receive $103,000 in fees.

Members of the two classes have until May 2 to opt out of the settlement with American International South Insurance Company.

A fairness hearing is set for June 2 at 10:30 a.m.

Schaeperkoetter sued on her own behalf and that of others who bought auto insurance for $15 a month.

The case was taken to federal court shortly after its August 2009 filing and was later remanded.

Status hearings in the suit were repeatedly pushed off until the Feb. 10 hearing.

Under the proposed settlement, two sub-classes are created.

One consists of Illinois purchasers of the policy. That class ranges from Illinois policy holders who held the insurance from Jan. 1, 2004 to Feb. 10, 2011.

The other is made up of those who bought the insurance and who reside in Missouri. The Missouri class time frame is from Jan. 1, 2006 to Feb. 10, 2011.

Under the settlement, class members would be entitled to 100 percent of the discrete premium paid to American International South.

The company does not admit liability.

The number of the class members is not set out in the proposed settlement documents nor is a lump settlement sum.

LeChien took the case over from now-retired St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley.

Stephan Rovak and Justine Margolis represent the insurance company.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-430.

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