by Max Brantley
Another case arises in which a judge voting to overturn a huge plaintiffs' verdict is accused of being improperly influenced by significant financial help from the party favored by his vote.
It's in Illinois, where a decision overturned a billion-dollar 1999 jury verdict against State Farm for using inferior parts for vehicle repair. The case was tried to a jury by Tom Thrash of Little Rock. On appeal, lawyers tried unsuccessfully to get Republican Justice Llloyd Karmeier off the case because of insurance industry support he received in a $9 million election campaign. In a new filing to restore the verdict, plaintiffs' lawyer say their investigator found $2.5 to $4 million had been funneled to Karmeier by State Farm through an insurance PAC.