When the Association of Trial Lawyers of America renamed itself the "American Association for Justice," a renowned tort reform advocate remarked, "If a shark called itself a kitten fish I would still not put my daughter in to play with it."
That may help explain the results of a recent Don Weber-Dave Hylla poll. Once voters learn Hylla is a plaintiff's attorney, Weber's lead grows to 3-1.
Hylla raised $7,750 last week from four area plaintiff's firms and two from out-of-state law firms.
Attorney Brent Coon of Texas--a silicosis/asbestos litigator who brought hundreds of questionable lawsuits to Madison County last year-- donated $650 to Hylla.
South Carolina-based Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman -- "plaintiffs' attorneys unafraid of taking on the big cases - from asbestos and mesothelioma, to predatory lending and securities fraud, to preserving, protecting, and repairing our natural resources," according to the firm's web site, donated $2,500.
Local attorneys Thomas Keefe, P.C., Wendler Law Firm, Lucco and Brown and Schaeffer and Lamere also ponied up for Hylla.
Hylla's opponent, Circuit Judge Don Weber received a $15,000 donation from JustPac, the Illinois Civil Justice League PAC.
Election year wobbly?
Former Madison County Circuit Judge George Moran, whose abrupt retirement in February left the Civil Division in chaos, was welcomed back to the courthouse last week...over a child support matter.
Moran and ex-wife Jana have joint custody of their 16-year-old son. But sensing that the retired judge-turned arbitrator got an income boost, the former Mrs. Moran filed a motion for a fairer share.
In a strange twist, presiding family Judge Barbara Crowder punted the case south to St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen Rice.
Crowder, running for circuit court judge, has received a $2,250 in donations from former Union Pacific railroad worker/Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers General Chairman Dennis Penning, 58 and his son, Patrick, 26, both of Hazelwood, Mo.
The volume in the 5th Appellate District race is about to get louder.
Steve McGlynn has just launched a major television buy in the Marion, Ill.-Paducah, Ky.-Cape Girardeau, Mo. media market, trying to overcome Bruce Stewart's status as Southern Illinois' "favorite son."
He hopes it helps. Democratic polling shows Stewart even beating McGlynn in Madison County 42 to 30 percent.
McGlynn's spots show him campaigning in several familiar Southern Illinois settings.
Sources tell Dicta Stewart will counter with spots showing well-known retired Southern Illinois judges, former Appellate Court Judge Robert Howerton and Judge Brockton Lockwood, (the judge who went undercover for the FBI to break the Greylord scandal) stumping for Stewart.