Editor's note: In 2005, the number of class action lawsuits dropped almost in half from the previous year, marking a turning point of sorts in Madison County. Gary Treadway alleges Equicredit charged his mother a $150 "loan discount fee" but failed to lower his mother's interest rate in exchange for the fee. The case was removed to federal court for a short time, but was remanded back to state court. On Dec. 21, Circuit Judge George Moran will hear the defendant's motion to dismiss the case. Treadway is represented by Gary Peel of the Lakin Law Firm.
In 2004, there were 82; in 2005, there were 45.
The Class Action Fairness Act was signed into law in February 2005, and since then only nine cases have been brought to the venue.
In this edition, the Record examines the status of the first 22 filed this year, and will report on the remaing class action suits of 2005 next week.
1. Treadway v. Equicredit, Jan. 10, 2005; 05L0027
2. Miller v. Hypoguard, Jan. 31, 2005; 05L104
Michael Miller claims his blood glucose monitors and strips, manufactured by defendant Hypoguard give inaccurately high or low readings. St. Louis lawyer Jeffrey Lowe represents Miller. This case has had no movement since the case was remanded from federal back to Madison County. Circuit Judge Don Weber is assigned to the case.
3-16 are cases filed by Madison County chiropractors:
3. Coy v. Country Mutual Insurance, Feb. 10, 2005; 05L148
4. Coy et.al v. Zurich Services Corp, Feb. 11, 2005; 05L149
5. Coy v. AIG Claims Services Inc, Feb. 11, 2005; 05L150
6. Coy v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co, Feb. 11, 2005; 05L151
7. Bemis v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America, Feb. 11, 2005; 05L152
8. Coy et.al. v. Focus Healthcare Management Inc, Feb. 11, 2005; 05L153
9. Coy v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, Feb. 11, 2005; 05L154
10. Point East Physical Rehab v. Argonaut Great Central Insurance Co., Feb. 14, 2005; 05L161
11. Bemis v. Federated Mutual Insurance Co., Feb. 14, 2005; 05L162
12. Coy v. Crawford & Co., Feb. 14, 2005; 05L163
13. Bemis et.al. v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, Feb. 14, 2005; 05L164
14. Bemis v. Pekin Insurance Co., Feb. 14, 2005; 05L165
15. Point East Physical Rehab vs. General Casualty Insurance Companies, Feb. 14, 2005; 05L167
16. Metro East Physical Rehabilitation SC vs. Onebeacon Insurance Co., Feb. 15, 2005; 05L173
Several days before the Class Action Fairness Act was signed into law, the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River filed 14 class action lawsuits on behalf of area chiropractors against insurance companies. The suits alleges the companies improperly applied Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) discounts, withheld payment for valid insurance claims and unfairly profited by their schemes.
According to the complaints, the insurance companies' "acts and omissions" constitute fraud, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, and are in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.
All of the cases are still pending in various courtrooms with the exception of the case against AIG. Like the other cases, it was removed to federal court. Unlike the other cases, this one still remains there.
Freed & Weiss, a Chicago law firm, is assisting Lakin in the cases.
17. Beals v. Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co, Feb. 15, 2005; 05L175
Beals accuses Variable of failing to properly manage her mutual fund account. She also claims the company favored certain investors with "market-timing" trading at the expense of others.
Stephen Tillery of Swansea, George Zelcs of Chicago and Andrew Friedman and Francis Balint Jr. of Phoenix are plaintiffs' attorneys.
The case was removed to federal court on March 17 by Variable and has yet to find its way back to Madison County.
18. Turner v. ITI Internet Services Inc. d/b/a ITI Bank, The Bancorp ad Moonlight Marketing, Feb. 15, 2005; 05L176
Turner claims the defendants conspired together to deposit a forged electronic check in the amount of $199 into her checking account on April 2004. Turner and class members seek compensation not exceeding $75,000, plus all costs.
In October, ITI asked Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Mark Bauman of Belleville, who represents ITI Internet claims that none of ITI Internet's transactions involved Illinois.
He said Moonlight Marketing was in Canada, Bancorp was in Pennsylvania, and ITI Internet was in Washington state.
Thomas Maag of the Lakin Law Firm, representing Turner, then asked Stack to conduct additional discovery on jurisdiction, which Stack granted. A case management conference is slated for Dec. 21.
19. Coy v. Chesapeake Life Insurance Company, Feb. 15, 2005; 05L177
Chesapeake will soon try to convince Circuit Judge George Moran to dismiss this complaint. According to court records, Coy will resist a hearing based on discovery issues that are not before the court.
20. Bemis v. Cincinnati Insurance Co, Feb. 15, 2005; 05L178
21. Bemis v. Auto Owners Casualty & Surety Co., Feb. 15, 2005; 05L179
Bemis filed an amended complaint on his case against Cincinnati on Dec. 2, after Circuit Judge George Moran granted Cincinnati's motion to dismiss on Nov. 2.
Moran, however, gave Bradley Lakin 30 days to amend his pleadings. A case management conference is scheduled in early 2006.
The case against Auto Owners is a case that has stalled due to the retirement of Circuit Judge Philip Kardis. Circuit Judge Don Weber is now assigned the case but no hearings are scheduled.
22. Kern et.al. v. General Electric Capital Assurance Co, Feb. 16, 2005, 05L185
The plaintiffs claim that even though they paid their insurance premiums, General Electric Capital Assurance Company refused to pay for the long-term-assisted-care. They claim GECAC was deceptive in the presentation of information in the policy contract, and GECAC refuses to refund benefits owed to them.
The plaintiffs and class seek damages not to exceed $75,000 each, plus all costs, and further compensation as the Court sees fit.
A case management conference is set for Feb. 9, 2006. Gary Peel represents the plaintiffs while Robert Schultz represents GECAC.