Status conference set in Venezia wrongful death suit

By Amelia Flood | Apr 26, 2010

A status conference is set in a wrongful death suit brought against the estate of racketeer Thomas Venezia by Michael and Cynthia Anderson of Belleville, on behalf of their daughter Jennifer Anderson.

The conference, scheduled May 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young's court, was set in February in the midst of a move by the Andersons' former attorney, James Schottel, Jr., to keep a retainer fee that he was ordered to return.

Schottel, of St. Louis, had petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to order Young to allow him to keep $1,600 the Andersons paid him to pursue a claim against Venezia's estate, as well as Robert Staack, for allegedly causing the wrongful death of Jennifer Anderson in 2005.

The Supreme Court denied Schottel's move in March.

Jennifer Anderson was found dead from a gunshot wound to the back of her head in the Belleville home she shared with the 64 year-old Venezia. Venezia, a convicted felon, was also found dead at the scene from a gunshot wound.

The Belleville police ruled the deaths a murder-suicide.

Since the suit's 2007 filing, neither defendant has been served or entered an appearance in the case.

Young had ordered Schottel to return the retainer as a condition for him withdrawing from the case.

Schottel asked Young to reconsider the ruling by conference call in February. Young denied his request.

Schottel then filed for leave to ask the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus. The writ would have forced Young to overturn his ruling and allow Schottel to keep the $1,600.

Since the Supreme Court's order denying the move, there have been no filings in the case.

Belleville attorney William Berry is local counsel for the Andersons.

The status conference is set for 9:30 a.m.

The case is St. Clair case number 07-L-359.

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