Joyce Phillips, who filed a class action suit against Ford Motor Company through the Lakin Law Firm while working at the firm, has asked to be excused from the case.

Robert Schmieder of the Lakin firm on June 23 asked Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian for leave to amend the complaint.

The motion forestalled a June 28 hearing on a Ford motion to dismiss.

Schmieder wrote that the new complaint would excuse plaintiffs Phillips and Joseph Gulash. Plaintiffs Norma Maag and Peter Yaciuk would replace Phillips and Gulash.

Current plaintiffs Daniel Schopp and Beverly Brede would remain in the suit.

The Lakin firm claims that Ford failed to tell buyers that paint would "delaminate" and flake off cars.

The Lakin firm has amended the complaint twice.

Ford plans to resist further amendment. In a June 29 letter to the court, attorney Joseph Whyte of Edwardsville wrote that Ford intended to oppose the motion.

Whyte wrote that, '…no ruling on the motion should be made without giving Ford the opportunity to be heard."

In 1999 a temporary employment agency assigned Phillips to the Lakin firm. She owned a Taurus.

"I heard around the office that there was a paint problem and I said, 'I have paint problems,'" she would say in a deposition in 2002.

Brad Lakin filed her suit. Three months later the firm hired her as a legal assistant.

In her deposition she said she had no training for the position.

Ford attorney Robert Shultz argued that Phillips was too closely connected to the firm to represent a class. He wrote that a class member could wonder where her loyalties lay.

Kardis certified Phillips as class representative in 2003. He found no conflict of interest between Phillips and the plaintiff class.

Kardis set trial for 2006 but he retired in 2005.

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