No action since December '10 in Schottel's suit against Judge Young, local attorney

Amelia Flood Jun. 21, 2011, 9:25am

There has been no action since December 2010 in a federal suit brought against former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young and Belleville attorney William Berry by St. Louis attorney James Schottel Jr.

Schottel Jr. filed suit last year against the pair following the return of a $1,600 retainer fee and the end of a wrongful death suit in which Schottel Jr. had represented the parents of a woman killed in a murder-suicide involving convicted racketeer Thomas Venezia.

Young forced Schottel Jr. to return the $1,600 retainer fee that Schottel Jr.'s former clients Michael and Cynthia Anderson paid him.

The Andersons retained Schottel Jr. and Berry as local counsel in a 2007 wrongful death suit they filed against Venezia's estate and Robert Staack.

The Andersons contended that Staack negligently gave Venezia a gun that was used to kill their daughter, Jennifer Anderson.

Jennifer Anderson was found dead in the home she shared with Venezia. She died from a gunshot wound the back of the head.

Venezia was also found dead at the scene and police ruled the deaths a murder-suicide.

Although the Andersons filed suit in 2007, neither defendant was ever served in the case.

After some issues with Schottel Jr.'s pro hac vice standing, the St. Louis attorney asked for leave to withdraw from the suit in September 2009.

Young eventually granted the move on the condition that Schottel Jr. return the $1,600 the Andersons had paid him.

Schottel Jr. asked the judge to reconsider allowing him to keep the retainer fee.

Young denied the plea in January 2010.

Schottel Jr. then filed for leave to ask for a writ of mandamus from the Illinois Supreme Court.

If granted, the writ would have forced Young to overturn his order mandating Schottel Jr. return the money.

The high court declined Schottel Jr.'s request.

Eventually, Schottel Jr. returned the money and Young dismissed the Andersons' suit for lack of prosecution in August 2010.

Schottel Jr. filed the federal case a month later.

Young retired from the bench later that year.

In the federal suit, Schottel Jr. claims that Young violated his civil rights by forcing him to return the money.

He also claims that Berry and the former St. Clair County judge conspired to violate his civil rights and deprive him of the retainer fee.

Both defendants have filed to dismiss Schottel Jr.'s suit.

The last filing in the case was filed Dec. 7, 2010.

That filing from Schottel Jr. relates to a sanctions move filed by Young.

Schottel Jr. represents himself.

Assistant Illinois Attorney General Rex Gradeless represents Young.

Richard Korn represents Berry.

The federal case pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri is case number 4:10-cv-01673-HEA.

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