Judge Don Weber

Like a host without guests, Madison County’s newest judge presided over awkward silence in his courtroom Nov. 18.

“I feel a little slighted,” Circuit Judge Don Weber told a clerk and a court reporter when a 10:30 a.m. civil court session stalled for lack of attorneys.

Weber had sent notices of motion hearings to attorneys in 19 cases. He inherited the cases from Judge Phillip Kardis, who retired in August.

Attorneys might have jumped at a chance to move forward after a three month delay, but most of the attorneys on Weber’s docket let the opportunity slide.

In only one case, Madaline Sutton vs. Fleetwood Enterprises, did attorneys appear for both sides. They agreed on an order for Weber to sign. One wrote it, and the others left.

Weber said to his court reporter and clerk, “Where is everybody?”

He signed the order and said he would wait 10 minutes.

Attorney Lori DaCosse, of the Juliano firm in O’Fallon, arrived in the nick of time with an apology for being late.

She had moved on behalf of client Bart Miller for default judgment against John and Rhonda Carlyle. The defendants, representing themselves “pro se,” did not appear.

Weber and Juliano discussed possible removal of the case to federal court. As they finished, attorney James Eason of Brown and Crouppen, in St. Louis, entered the room.

Eason asked Weber for permission to employ an unusual method of serving notice by publication for client Theresa Duncan, in a suit against Kasey Anderson.

Weber, who spent most of his career in criminal courts, had never heard of the method.

“I don’t think I know civil that well anyway,” said Weber.

Eason said he had found the method the night before. Weber authorized it and Eason left.

Weber told the clerk and the court reporter that if anyone else came, he would see them at 2 p.m.

He said he would make good use of the time, reading arguments on motions to dismiss class action suits.

“I have two big ones, about a hundred pages each,” he said.

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