Lakin wants to move lawsuit against firm out of Madison County

By Steve Korris | Jun 22, 2006

At the height of hypocrisy, the Lakin Law Firm seeks to transfer a lawsuit against it from Madison County to Metropolis, Ill., or Paducah, Ky.

In a June 15 motion the Lakin firm asked Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to send the case away under the doctrine of forum non conveniens.

More than anyone else the Lakin firm has developed Madison County as a litigation magnet by dragging defendants into the courthouse with lawsuits that bear little or no relation to Madison County.

The Lakin firm has successfully resisted efforts by defendants it has sued to transfer lawsuits under the doctrine.

With the shoe on the other foot, the Lakin firm suddenly recognizes "the unfairness of burdening citizens in an unrelated forum with jury duty."

The firm's attorney, A.J. Bronsky of St. Louis, asked Stack to transfer the case to the courthouse in Metropolis because plaintiff Alan Wrye resides in Massac County.

In the alternative Bronsky proposed to dismiss the case so Wrye could file it across the Ohio River in McCracken County, Ky.

Wrye sued the Lakin firm in February, alleging professional negligence.

Wrye claims he retained the Lakin firm to sue Tennessee Valley Towing of Paducah over an injury he suffered working on a boat in Alabama.

He claims the Lakin firm sued after the statute of limitations expired.

McCracken County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Hines dismissed Wrye's claim in 2002.

The Lakin firm argues that if it neglected Wrye's claim, the neglect did not happen at the firm's office in Wood River.

"Any claimed malpractice by the defendant would have occurred relative to the matter filed in McCracken County," Bronsky wrote.

He wrote, "Madison County has little or no interest in this action…"

He wrote that the Illinois Supreme Court disfavors forum shopping.

Losing track of Illinois geography, he wrote that, "…a more appropriate forum for this action is Saline County."

From other references in the motion and a supporting memorandum, he must have meant Massac County.

He wrote, "A Court may decline to exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of forum non conveniens whenever another forum can better serve the convenience of the litigation and promote the ends of justice.

"The doctrine of forum non conveniens promotes the principles of convenience and fairness in choosing between two or more forums that have jurisdiction over the matter."

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