Lawyers seeking billions in RICO case want magistrate to supervise Justice Karmeier deposition

By The Madison County Record | Apr 2, 2014

Lawyers who plan to depose Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier about his election 10 years ago want U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams to supervise the deposition in his court.

Bob Clifford of Chicago, representing plaintiffs seeking a class action against State Farm Mutual Insurance, made the request in a status conference on April 1.

He said Williams could handle objections immediately.

Williams said, “I am always willing to entertain a request to supervise a deposition. I am not ruling anything out.”

Clifford’s clients claim Karmeier won the election through State Farm’s secret and fraudulent support.

They claim Karmeier caused the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn a $1.05 billion judgment against State Farm.

They seek to recover the judgment for the same class, with interest and triple damages under federal racketeering law.

Chief District Judge David Herndon presides over the case, with Williams in charge of discovery.

In a conference on Jan. 31, Williams said an issue had been raised of a deposition of a sitting justice on the Illinois Supreme Court.

“I don’t know when anyone intends to start going down that road, but I’m told that that’s a road that we’re going to go down,” Williams said.

“That’s going to require somebody being subpoenaed, of course, and there is going to be a motion to quash that subpoena, and there’s going to have to be all kinds of briefing from all sides.”

The subject came up again in the April 1 conference.

Clifford said that when the suit was filed, it named Citizens for Karmeier as a party, but the group was ultimately dismissed without prejudice.

He said that St. Louis attorney Anthony Martin, who had represented Citizens for Karmeier, was still on the notice list for court proceedings.

“Plaintiffs have a concern because plaintiffs issued third party subpoenas,” Clifford said. “We made an error in how we handled the subpoenas.”

He said Martin was on a conference call about the subpoenas.

“We didn’t think he should be on,” Clifford said, and asked Williams to order the clerk to remove Martin from the notice list.

Martin, however, now represents Karmeier, Clifford said.

“We are preparing a third party subpoena for Justice Karmeier.”

He asked Williams to supervise the deposition, and Williams said he would leave a decision for another day.

“We will have meetings in advance of the deposition in any event,” Williams said.

Williams said he would remove Martin from the notice list.

He set the next conference June 2.

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