LakinChapman lawyers can't punish Pekin Insurance for keeping records on microfilm, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has ruled.

She declined on Nov. 9 to sanction Pekin for disobeying an order that granted a motion to compel production of records.

The sanction Andrew Kuhlmann of LakinChapman sought would have certified a class action against Pekin without a hearing.

Crowder found no basis for such a drastic sanction or any sanction at all.

"Some of the issues raised in the motion to compel indicate complaints because some of Pekin's records were on microfilm and not easily subject to electronic word searches or other database queries," she wrote.

"Discovery disputes over production form have become so prevalent that the Seventh Circuit has instituted a pilot program to help identify better ways to enable litigants to define and produce information," she wrote.

"Illinois has not adopted specific discovery to oversee the complex issues raised by electronic discovery," she wrote.

She wrote that she and counsel might fashion a case management order detailing a format for production of discovery.

The Lakin Law Firm sued Pekin on behalf of chiropractor Frank Bemis in 2005.

Bemis claimed Pekin persuaded him to join a preferred provider organization that discounted his bills but didn't keep a promise to steer patients to him.

Chiropractors Dale Fischer and Thomas Kaltenbronn joined the suit in 2006.

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