Cook County Judge Moves to Undo Clerk’s Plaintiff-Favoring Corruption
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Lynch has vacated a $25 million settlement hurriedly reached with the defendants’ insurer after the plaintiff’s lawyer had been tipped off about a jury note that suggested things weren’t going his way.
It was the court clerk, Tatiana Agee, who allegedly told plaintiff’s lawyer Mark McNabola about the jury note and later confided in a court intern, saying she liked to give plaintiffs an advantage.
In a post-trial hearing to determine how the personal injury case shall proceed, defense counsel argued that there would have been no settlement if they had known the jury note indicated the jury leaned in their clients’ favor.
Judge Lynch is expected in early February to decide where things go from here and whether McNabola should face fraud sanctions or if Agee should be referred for criminal prosecution. Meanwhile, the judge thanked the intern for coming forward with what she knew about Agee’s conduct. Of course, observers of Cook County courts know such conduct is all too typical of court personnel there, from judges on down. Thus Judge Lynch, and the intern, are rare heroes and a collective point of light.