The Madison County Circuit Court announced on Wednesday that Judge Daniel Stack would replace Judge Phillip Kardis as administrator of the county's massive asbestos docket.
Stack's first day in court was Friday, September 10. In an interview in his chambers on Thursday, Stack said he hoped to keep the county's asbestos machine humming.
"I'm going to play it by ear," said Stack on Thursday. "I have no plans to do anything different--the system has worked for over 10 years."
Although many asbestos lawyers saw the switch coming, it came as something of a surprise given the fact that Kardis left the asbestos docket before ever taking over. His first day in court was to have been Thursday. Instead, Judge Nicholas Byron presided that day over the asbestos status call. Byron had managed the docket for nearly a decade.
Lawyers and judges say that defense lawyers objected to Kardis as asbestos chief.
Stack, most recently a criminal judge, may have been more acceptable if only because he has no track record in large class actions.
Stack, a native of East St. Louis and a resident of Highland, has served as circuit court judge since January 2003, when the circuit judges chose him to replace retiring Judge P.J. O'Neill. Before that he had served as an associate judge since 1986--with an 18-month hiatus after circuit judges voted not to retain him in 1995, then reappointed him in early 1997.
Stack, 53, is up for election in November. Because he replaced a retiring judge, he is technically running for an open position. He has no opponent.