Kelly Holleran Nov. 13, 2012, 8:47am

Hamel attorney Thomas Burkart claims the Illinois State Bar Association Mutual Insurance Company refuses to pay for defense costs he has incurred in a suit filed against him.

Burkart, doing business as Burkart Law Offices, filed a lawsuit Oct. 19 in Madison County Circuit Court against the Illinois State Bar Association Mutual Insurance Company and Robert and Elizabeth Wilson.

Burkart claims the insurance company is supposed to pay for any costs he incurs in defending himself or his business. So when the Wilsons filed a lawsuit against Burkart, he notified ISBA, according to the complaint.

In their lawsuit, the Wilsons claim Burkart helped them to win a $30,000 verdict in their favor. However, the Wilsons say Burkart improperly withdrew part of the proceeds from the Bank of Edwardsville.

When Burkart learned of the lawsuit, he immediately notified ISBA, which initially agreed to pay for defense costs, the suit states. However, ISBA later filed a declaratory judgment, asking the court for permission to end its obligation to pay the defense costs, the complaint says.

“ISBA has no legitimate basis upon which to refuse to pay Peppers counsel during the course of cause 12-L-1152, and any attempt by ISBA to obtain a judgment otherwise will cause plaintiff to incur substantial out-of-pocket expense during the course of 12-L-1152,” the suit states.

In his complaint, Burkart seeks a declaratory judgment that requires the ISBA to defend him and that says the ISBA cannot reject the selection of Burkart’s counsel. He also seeks a judgment that any clause within the policy to the contrary violates law and is void.

Burkart has already filed a previous lawsuit against ISBA and has obtained a settlement against the company. However, ISBA has failed to honor the terms of the agreement and filed a declaratory judgment in an attempt to evade the settlement, according to the complaint.

In his complaint, Burkart seeks a judgment of more than $60,000, plus costs, attorney’s fees and other relief the court deems just.

He will be representing himself.

Burkart was a Republican candidate for Madison County circuit judge in last week's election. He was defeated by the Democratic candidate Kyle Napp.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-1693.

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Bank of Edwardsville
330 West Vandalia Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025

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