Matthew Young and James Bax
BELLEVILLE – At least 28 defendants in St. Clair County suits have substituted Circuit Judge Christopher Kolker in the last year, and at least 11 plaintiffs have substituted Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn in two months.
Parties don’t have to offer reasons, because they can substitute one judge without cause if the judge hasn’t made a substantial ruling.
On the surface, the record with Kolker and McGlynn shows defendants avoiding a Democrat and plaintiffs avoiding a Republican.
By comparison, a search of suits filed from 2017 to this year failed to turn up a single substitution of Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf, a Democrat.
Substitutions of Kolker spiked last spring, with seven in 45 days.
Since then he has averaged two a month.
John Cunningham of the Brown and James firm in Belleville substituted Kolker seven times, and others in the firm did so five times.
Daniel Renner of Neville, Richards and Wuller in Belleville substituted Kolker three times, and Adam Braundmeier of the firm did so twice.
James Bax of Sandberg Phoenix in St. Louis substituted Kolker twice, and Jeffrey Dunn of the firm did so once.
Defendants who pulled the lever included Ameren Illinois, White Castle, Mystic Vapes, Kohrmann Brothers Masonry, Erie Insurance, and seed maker Syngenta.
Physicians Emily Boyd, Christopher Norbet, Serge Rasskazoff, Bradley Tissier, Abdulsalam Jamous, and Sekou Kelsey substituted Kolker.
So did Dugan Radiology and Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois.
Substitutions of McGlynn started on Feb. 26, shortly after Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson added him to the rotation of civil suits.
Matthew Young of Kuehn, Beasley and Young in Belleville substituted him on March 19, and twice on March 28.
Thomas Rich of Rich, Rich and Cooksey in Belleville substituted him twice, and so did George Ripplinger of Ripplinger and Zimmer in Belleville.
John Wallach of Richmond Heights, Mo. substituted him on behalf of Melissa
Griswold in a suit against physician Mark Hensley.
One suit produced two substitutions.
Defendant Cedar Ridge Health and Rehab substituted Kolker on March 19.
Plaintiff Edward Cornwell, administrator of the estate of Ailish Cornwell, substituted McGlynn on April 2.