Class action plaintiffs argue that government can’t intrude on First Amendment rights of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, but that they can.
On May 29, in federal court, they defended the necessity of invading his privacy through subpoena in order to prove State Farm fraudulently secured his election in 2004.
“Plaintiffs submit that their subpoena is not subject to the First Amendment at all, because plaintiffs are not governmental actors,” Robert Clifford of Chicago wrote.
“The United States Supreme Court has recognized that the constitutional guarantee of free speech is a guarantee only against abridgement by government, federal or state,” he wrote.
He wrote that the document requests of plaintiffs Mark Hale, Todd Shadle, and Carly Vickers Morse don’t constitute governmental action.
Hale, Shadle and Morse claim State Farm corrupted the election so the Supreme Court would overturn a billion dollar judgment against State Farm.
They seek triple damages under federal racketeering law, with interest back to the original judgment in 1999, for a total of approximately $7 billion.
They also claim damages from Ed Murnane of Illinois Civil Justice League and State Farm employee William Shepherd as parties to the conspiracy.
Hale, Shadle and Morse didn’t sue Karmeier, but they assert jurisdiction over him.
When Clifford moved to enforce the subpoena, on May 8, he claimed Karmeier must respond because he associated with racketeers.
The subpoena calls for 64 kinds of records including Karmeier’s personal tax returns, telephone records, and computers.
It calls for his communications with 87 persons and entities including the Record.
Hale, Shadle and Vickers even seek communications of wife Mary Karmeier.
“The amount in controversy is staggering,” Clifford wrote.
On Karmeier’s behalf, Courtney Cox of St. Louis moved to quash the subpoena.
“Justice Karmeier is not named as a defendant, but his integrity is attacked and impugned throughout the complaint,” Cox wrote on May 15.
Cox wrote that plaintiffs apparently filed the complaint without evidence for their claim that Karmeier sold his vote for campaign contributions.
He wrote that the subpoena affects the rights of others including Karmeier’s friends, colleagues, and fellow Supreme Court Justices.
Clifford answered that documents from discovery show State Farm deceived courts in previous proceedings.
Clifford wrote that Shepherd conceded he was a member of the executive committee of Murnane’s group, and that State Farm concealed this from the Supreme Court in 2005.
"Murnane’s ICJL, with Shepherd on its executive committee, had a goal to raise $1 million each for Justpac, the ICJL, and Citizens for Karmeier,”Clifford wrote.
He wrote that Murnane’s group spent $718,965 in 2004, and that Karmeier didn’t report these expenses as in kind contributions.
Clifford also wrote that disclosure of phone records doesn’t represent a significant intrusion.
“An individual has no legitimate or reasonable expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dials,” he wrote.
Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams has set a hearing on June 17.
Chief District Judge David Herndon presides over the case.
Clifford offered to hire a third party vendor to examine Karmeier’s computers, “so he does not have to expend the time to do so.”
He wrote that Hale, Shadle and Morse need current records to show ongoing relations among State Farm, Karmeier, and Karmeier’s other lawyer, Anthony Martin.
He wrote that the firm where Cox and Martin work, Sandberg Phoenix, recently represented State Farm in one case and Murnane’s group in another.
Lead plaintiff Hale resides in Oneida County, New York, according to the cover sheet for the case.
Morse resides in Maryland and Shadle in Texas, according to the complaint.
Online searches identify Morse as an employee of the Library of Congress, and Shadle as a lawyer with a firm in Dallas.
In telephone interviews they confirmed those positions.
At least two Mark Hales own property in Oneida County, New York.
One, a store manager with an immediately available number, said he didn't sue State Farm.
No number appears online for the other Mark Hale who owns property, nor for anyone else in the county who might bear the name.