Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Emert Wyss dismissed as third party defendant

By Steve Korris | Jun 23, 2005

Judge Kardis

Emert Wyss of Alton, who gained national fame as the lawyer who accidentally sued himself, no longer holds that distinction.

Madison County Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis ruled Thursday that Wyss would not have to defend himself personally as a third party defendant in the case of McLaughlin vs. Alliance Mortgage.

Kardis ruled that Centerre Title, a company Wyss owned, would remain in the case as a third party defendant.

At a hearing on a motion to dismiss Wyss as a defendant, Kardis said a “corporate shield” protected Wyss from personal responsibility for Centerre Title’s actions.

The case began in 2002, when Wyss called Carmelita McLaughlin to his law office. Centerre Title had closed an Alliance Mortgage loan on her house.

Wyss told McLaughlin that the lender charged $60 for faxes when the loan closed. McLaughlin signed a retainer for his services and the services of three other law firms.

McLaughlin sued Alliance Mortgage in 2003. She asked the court to certify her as representative of a class of plaintiffs who had paid unreasonable fax fees.

Last year Alliance Mortgage moved to add Centerre Title as a third party defendant, arguing that if anything was wrong at closing, Centerre Title should have caught it.

The mortgage company also moved for sanctions against Wyss, who had said in a deposition that the retainer called for him to receive a tenth of any recovery of damages.

Kardis received and sealed a “fee renunciation letter,” and Alliance Mortgage withdrew the motion for sanctions.

Kardis added Centerre Title as a third party defendant.

He also added Wyss personally as a third party defendant.

Alliance Mortgage filed a third party complaint against Centerre Title and Wyss.

The Record reported March 14 that Wyss accidentally sued himself. The story drew more than 40,000 viewers to the newspaper’s website, and St. Louis radio stations KTRS and KMOX featured it on talk shows.

The Washington Post also featured a humor column on the story

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