U.S. District Judge David Herndon has stayed proceedings in a proposed racketeering class action that seeks billions in relief.

Herndon granted State Farm’s motion while the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals considers the insurer’s motion to stop Hale v. State Farm.

Lead plaintiff Mark Hale claims that the Illinois Supreme Court improperly overturned a $1.05 billion judgment in a consumer class action, Avery v. State Farm, in 2005.

Hale, represented by Gordon Ball of Knoxville, Tenn. and more than a dozen other attorneys across the country, seeks triple damages under racketeering law on behalf of a class identical to the one Williamson County Associate Judge John Speroni certified for Avery in 1998.

In previous rulings, Herndon has denied State Farm’s immediate appeal and its motion for reconsideration of the denial order.

Ball had pleaded with Herndon not to grant State Farm’s motion to stay, saying it should not be given “a third bite of the apple” in a Dec. 31 memorandum.

Herndon ruled Jan. 13 that the matter is stayed until State Farm’s petition for writ of mandamus is resolved at the Seventh Circuit.

In previous filings, plaintiffs have indicated they will seek to depose Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier over State Farm’s funding of his 2004 campaign.

The alleged racketeering occurred when State Farm and Karmeier’s campaign committee worked together to recruit, finance and elect Karmeier to the Supreme Court so he would vote to overturn the judgment against State Farm once elected, plaintiffs claim.

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