Patrick Murphy of Marion, who retired as a U.S. district judge last December, has returned to federal court as a plaintiff lawyer in private practice.

Murphy filed suit in district court on April 25, seeking $4 million in damages for Kentucky trucker Robert Hill.

The lawsuit claims another trucker, John Harp of Pulaski County, caused an accident that injured Hill.

Murphy’s wife, Patricia Murphy, dismissed a suit asserting the same claim in Massac County circuit court on April 22.

The federal complaint does not show Patricia’s name, but it identifies Patrick’s firm as Murphy and Murphy LLC.

It states that a collision happened on Sept. 20, 2011, at the intersection of Illinois Route 169 and Boaz Road.

Hill alleges that Harp drove past a stop sign in heavy fog and that Harp left 275 feet of skid marks as he tried to stop.

After skidding into the intersection, Harp stopped and blocked Hill’s lane, the suit claims.

Hill claims he suffered injuries, incurred medical expenses of $164,727.72, and lost $42,480 in wages.

The suit demands $1 million in actual damages and $3 million in punitive damages.

As of April 30, District Judge Michael Reagan presided over the case.

Patrick Murphy practiced as a plaintiff lawyer in Marion before serving as judge.

He filed a class action against State Farm Insurance in Williamson County in 1997, claiming the insurer supplied inferior parts for crash repairs.

The suit resulted in a billion dollar judgment against State Farm in 1999, a year after Murphy had taken a judge’s robe.

The Illinois Supreme Court vacated the judgment in 2005, but plaintiffs revived the case in 2012 as a federal racketeering suit.

Plaintiffs claimed State Farm fraudulently provided secret support for the 2004 election of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier.

They claimed Karmeier corrupted the Court and deprived them of a valid judgment.

They sought triple damages plus interest, for a total of $7 billion.

State Farm moved to dismiss the action, and Chief District Judge David Herndon denied the motion a year ago.

Herndon denied reconsideration of his decision two days after Murphy retired.

State Farm asked Seventh Circuit appellate judges to stop the proceedings, and the Seventh Circuit ruled that the case could continue.

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