Christina Stueve Hodges Dec. 10, 2012, 12:45pm

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis on Nov. 28 re-assigned a proposed class action lawsuit against an Alton grocery store over check cashing fees to Associate Judge Thomas Chapman.

The case file did not state a reason for the reassignment. Callis had been presiding over the suit.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 20 by plaintiff Julie Wheeler who claims she cashed a check for $68.80 at defendant Schwegel’s Food Markets on April 23 and was charged a 75-cent fee in violation of the Illinois Check Cashing Act.

Wheeler claims Illinois state law does not allow for check cashing fees of more than 50 cents or 1 percent of the face value of the check.

Schwegel filed a motion to dismiss on Nov. 9, stating that another corporate entity, Pearl Market, Inc., operates the market.

“The corporate structure of Pearl Market insulates its shareholders, officers, directors and others from personal liability for claims such as those brought by the plaintiff," the motion states. "The plaintiff has alleged no facts, permitting the piercing of the corporate veil in this circumstance. The case against Robert Schwegel must be dismissed."

Chapman on Dec. 6 allowed the plaintiff to file a first amended complaint to name Pearl Market as defendant.

Wheeler is asking the court to certify her complaint as a class action lawsuit and is seeking more than $100,000, attorneys’ fees and other relief the court deems just.

Wheeler is represented by Peter J. Maag of Maag Law Firm in Wood River.

Joseph Brown of Lucco, Brown, Threlkeld and Dawson represent the defense.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-1316.

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