A seven year-old class action against AT&T ended Monday as a Madison County judge gave the final approval to its $21 million settlement.

Plaintiff attorneys Timothy Londrigan, Terrence O'Leary, Glenn Bradford and Mary Lee Leahy will take away $7 million in fees.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack approved the settlement between a class of business owners led by Big Sky Excavating Company and AT&T, formerly Illinois Bell Telephone Company.

Stack gave the suit's settlement the initial go ahead in March. There were no objections to the settlement.

The class action stemmed from a refund that the Illinois state legislature ordered AT&T and Ameritech Services to pay to Illinois businesses in 2001.

The companies were to pay out $90 million in refunds due to overcharges on business phone lines.

Big Sky filed suit against AT&T two years later, claiming that it had given out refunds to customers who weren't entitled to them, thus shortchanging others.

Former Madison County Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis, who originally oversaw the suit, declared the refunds to be unconstitutional.

The Illinois State Supreme Court reversed Kardis' decision and sent the case back to Edwardsville.

Stack inherited the suit and granted the plaintiffs summary judgment in February 2009.

Stack then found the plaintiff class was entitled to a refund of about $21 a line.

The class representatives, Big Sky and Theis Law Firm, will each receive $10,000.

AT&T will pay for the costs of administering the settlement.

After granting the final approval, Stack praised the attorneys on both sides of the aisle for their professionalism and handling of the case.

"I just find that everybody did a good job with this case," Stack told them.

Londrigan is with Londrigan, Potter & Randle P.C. of Springfield.
Leahy is with Leahy Law Firm of Springfield.

O'Leary is with Bosslet & O'Leary, Ltd. in Granite City.

Bradford is with Barberis and Bradford in Edwardsville.

Theodore Livingston of Chicago, Elaine Rappaport Lev of Chicago and John Papa of Granite City represented the defendants.

Livingston is with the firm of Mayer Brown LLP.

Papa is part of Callis, Papa, Hale, Szewczyk & Danzinger P.C.

Rappaport Lev is with AT&T Services Inc.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-715.

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