Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla froze a Lakin Law Firm class action against Country Mutual Insurance so that attorney Kevin Hoerner of Belleville can proceed with a similar suit in St. Clair County.
Hylla on July 10 granted a motion from Country Mutual to stay a suit the Lakins filed last year on behalf of chiropractor Richard Coy.
The suit claims Country Mutual underpaid on medical bills from accidents.
Hylla found that the parties and issues in Coy's suit were substantially similar to those in Roche v. Country Mutual, a suit Hoerner filed in St. Clair County last year.
Hylla wrote that "duplicity of litigation is to be avoided because it may be greatly inconvenient and wasteful even if not designed to be vexatious or harassing."
"This Court thinks the Roche case may ultimately encompass all claims in the present case; but it may not," he wrote.
"Therefore, this case will remain on file, for now, to
best deal with the contingency that substantial claims may be unresolved through Roche."
St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson presides over the Roche case.
He has set an Aug. 6 hearing on a motion to dismiss.