Doug Wojcieszak, an investigator for lawyers suing State Farm over its role in the 2004 campaign of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, canceled a deposition about his investigation on five days notice.
State Farm counsel Joseph Cancila of Chicago reported the cancellation to U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams at a hearing on Oct. 20.
Cancila said the deposition was set for Oct. 7, and Wojcieszak canceled it on Oct. 2.
Cancila said Wojcieszak was in an automobile accident.
Plaintiff lawyer Steven Blonder said David Cates represents Wojcieszak.
Cancila handed Williams a letter from Wojcieszak’s doctor and said, “The accident occurred on July 25.”
He said State Farm counted on the deposition for a brief opposing certification of a class action, due on Nov. 18.
Cancila said State Farm expected to depose Wojcieszak before deposing two other investigators on dates already outstanding.
Williams read the doctor’s letter and said, “If he wants to delay on that basis, Mr. Cates has to come in here and ask.”
He said pushing it to December didn’t make sense.
“We need more from his doctor to push it back that long,” Williams said.
“We need to get him in here because he is under subpoena.”
Cancila said Cates offered Dec. 6 or 7.
Williams said, “I don’t like those dates. It’s too long. I don’t know why it’s got to be that long. As far as I’m concerned it’s got to be sooner.”
Blonder asked him to file the doctor’s letter under seal.
Williams raised it above his head and said, “I’m going to hold it.”
He set a hearing on Oct. 29, for Wojcieszak to show cause why State Farm should not depose him before Nov. 13.
He told Cancila to notify Cates.
Williams presides over discovery for District Judge David Herndon.
Mark Hale of New York State filed the suit on behalf of a class that won $1 billion in Williamson County in 1999, but lost it at the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005.
Hale claims State Farm secretly supported Karmeier in 2004, in order to overturn the Williamson County judgment.
He claims State Farm misled the Supreme Court about its role in the campaign, not only in 2005 but also when the class tried to reopen the case in 2011.
He seeks to recover the judgment plus interest, with treble damages, bringing the total to about $8 billion.