Discovery madness

By The Madison County Record | Jun 8, 2008

Michael Mandeville fell off an automobile delivery trailer.

Michael Mandeville fell off an automobile delivery trailer.

Madison County plaintiff's attorneys Thomas Maag, Brian Wendler, and Charles Armbruster say that alleged incident, and the subsequent personal injury lawsuit they filed on his behalf, gives them the right to examine all the bank accounts of the Cassens family.

They've asked the Madison County Court to force the family to provide them with some 600,000 checks drawn on the Bank of Edwardsville since 1998.

What is going on in our courthouse?

Someone should ask Madison County Court Judge Dave Hylla, presiding over the lawsuit in question.

Through this case and a torrent of others, Maag and company have been using the special privileges accorded by their law degrees to torment the Cassens. The family owns several businesses in the Metro-East area, including an auto dealership and a transport company.

This inane request is just the latest absurd legal salvo lobbed in its direction, the bulk of which has been reported on these pages.

The Record has been largely alone reporting on this case and other similar ones. Apparently we're the only reporters around town who feel it newsworthy when the son of a one-time state Supreme Court hopeful is heading a legal jihad against one of the most successfully entrepreneurial families in town.

The Cassens will defeat such frivolity in the long run, of course. But the fight doesn't come without a cost--not only in defense lawyer fees and time wasted, but in the legal reputation of our courthouse.

Is it only allowable to find prosperity in Madison County if you're doing so as a trial lawyer? If it seems that way to us, imagine how it seems to those looking in from the outside, where entrepreneurs are respected as the risk-taking job creators they are.

An asbestos lawyer in his prior life, Hylla campaigned for the bench in 2006 on a platform of common sense. He promised not to be a rubber stamp for marauding trial lawyers, accused of using the Third Circuit's reputation as a club to harass and beat settlements out of our businesses.

Here's a chance for Judge Hylla to prove he meant what he said.

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