The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack's decision to toss a counter-suit that was filed against East Alton attorney Edward Unsell and his clients that claimed Brad Lakin, Kris Lakin and the Lakin Law Firm were victims of a $50 million extortion scheme.
A Rule 23 order filed on Sept. 11 came from the Fifth District, but the three judge panel was comprised of appellate judges from the Fourth District after each judge in Mt. Vernon recused themselves from the case.
Thomas Lakin is not part of the countersuit.
The counter-suit claimed that the individuals and their attorney (Unsell) who filed a civil sexual assault lawsuit against Lakin Law Firm founder Thomas Lakin, his firm and sons, attempted to leverage a large cash settlement. Veteran attorney Rex Carr represented Brad and Kris Lakin and the law firm.
Represented by Tom Keefe, Unsell and his clients filed motions to dismiss the countersuit lodged against them arguing the Lakins cannot prove malicious prosecution
Unsell stated that Thomas Lakin's attorney, Bill Lucco of Edwardsville, asked that the sexual assault complaint be withdrawn and expunged. In Unsell's civil suit, Thomas Lakin is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old boy, among other things, and his sons are accused of covering it up.
The motion to dismiss, filed by Unsell, argued that the Lakins cannot prove a conspiracy to withdraw and expunge the lawsuit solely as an attempt to extort money because Lucco requested and obtained the withdrawal and expungement of the lawsuit.
In his affidavit, Unsell claimed a reporter told him that his newspaper was going to file a motion to unseal the case and Unsell then placed a call to Lucco who instructed Unsell to "do something quick."
Lucco thought the media would be able to convince a judge to unseal the case and wanted Unsell to withdraw the civil suit and have it expunged in order to protect the Lakins.
Unsell also claims the settlement demand was only made after Lucco asked for a "global settlement."
In a Rule 23 order, the appellate court ruled that Unsell's affidavit was not contradicted by the Lakins, therefore they must "take as true the facts alleged in attorney Unsell's affidavit."
The court also ruled that Stack was correct in dismissing the abuse of process claim because the purpose of filing a suit is for money damages.