'Avery' lawyers say plan for Karmeier deposition is not immediate

By Steve Korris | Aug 15, 2013


EAST ST. LOUIS – Lawyers whose plan to depose Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier became public now say they will do it later or maybe not at all.

On Aug. 14, they told U.S. District Judge Herndon that they would not rush into it if he lifts a temporary stay on discovery in their fraud and racket suit against State Farm.

“Plaintiffs take this opportunity to clarify that they have no intention to notice the deposition of Justice Lloyd Karmeier immediately upon the lifting of the temporary discovery stay,” Robert Nelson of San Francisco wrote.

Nelson’s team wants Herndon to void Avery v. State Farm, an Illinois Supreme Court decision that overturned a $1.05 billion class action judgment from Williamson County.

Plaintiffs claimed State Farm supplied inferior automobile parts for millions of repairs.

The losing lawyers revived the case last year as a civil racketeering suit, claiming the Avery decision resulted from State Farm’s secret support of Karmeier in 2004.

State Farm moved to dismiss, and Herndon denied the motion in March.

State Farm moved for reconsideration, and the motion remains pending.

Plaintiffs moved in June to certify a class apparently identical to the Avery class, but they claimed in July that they didn’t want action on the motion.

They argued that they filed it as a place holder, to keep State Farm from “picking off” plaintiffs with settlements.

On Aug. 5, State Farm urged Herndon to deny class certification without delay.

“Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification is ripe for decision by this court,” wrote Patrick Cloud of the Heyl Royster firm in Edwardsville.

Cloud wrote that “the requirements for class certification cannot be met and no amount of time or discovery can cure the deficiencies.”

He wrote that plaintiffs stated an intention to depose Karmeier.

Nelson replied that State Farm raised the specter of an immediate deposition.

“Plaintiffs will pursue discovery into defendants’ fraud first through document discovery as well as depositions of individuals who knew about and/or helped to orchestrate the fraud, and only later, if necessary, through a deposition of Justice Karmeier," Nelson wrote.

“Plaintiffs envision an orderly discovery process that will shed light on both the class certification and the merits issues.”

He wrote that Herndon should order discovery to proceed and reserve the analysis of class certification for a later date.

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Heyl Royster Illinois Supreme Court

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