A preliminary approval hearing for the settlement of a seven year-old mortgage fees class action case has been moved to March.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder had been scheduled to hear arguments in favor of the settlement agreement at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28.

However, the hearing was moved to March 5, according to a third amended notice of hearing filed Jan. 25.

The class action, against Household Financial Services Inc., was one of a spate of similar suits filed between 2003 and 2005.

Lead plaintiffs Paul and LaDonna Wratchford led a class of home mortgage borrowers who claimed the defendants charged unreasonable per diem interest fees on their residential mortgages.

The class sued the company on counts of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

The Wratchford case, as well as the other similar pending Madison County class actions, were filed by a coalition of law firms including the former Lakin Law Firm – now Lakin Chapman LLC of Wood River – and Freed & Weiss of Chicago.

The partnership collapsed in 2007.

Earlier this month, former Lakin firm member, Richard Burke of St. Louis, entered his appearance in the case. Since Burke left the Lakin firm, he has partnered with Freed & Weiss.

Details of the proposed Wratchford settlement are not yet available.

Household Financial is represented by Nathan Eimer and others of Chicago.

The March hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-541.

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