Lloyd A. Karmeier
Lloyd A. Karmeier (born January 12, 1940 in rural Washington County) is a fifth district justice on the Illinois Supreme Court. A Republican, he was elected to his current position in a highly-contested election against Democrat Gordon Maag in 2004.
Growing-up, Karmeier attended a one-room grade school and graduated as valedictorian in 1958 from Okawville Community High School. He received his B.S. degree in 1962 and his J.D. degree in 1964, both from the University of Illinois.
Justice Karmeier clerked for former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Byron O. House from 1964 to 1968, served as state’s attorney of Washington County from 1968 to 1972, and clerked for former U.S. District Court Judge James L. Foreman from 1972 to 1973. He was engaged in the general practice of law with the firm of Hohlt, House, DeMoss & Johnson from 1964 to 1986. He was resident Circuit Judge of Washington County from 1986 to 2004, when he was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Justice Karmeier is a member of the Illinois Judges' Association, the Washington County, St. Clair County, East St. Louis and Illinois State Bar Associations, and past member of the American Bar Association and the American Judicature Society. He served as a member of the Assembly of the Illinois State Bar Association from 1996 to 2002, and as chair of the Bench and Bar Section Council. He also served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, chairing the committee from 2003 to 2004. He is a member of the Southern Illinois American Inn of Court and served as President of the Executive Committee from 2003 to 2007.
Justice Karmeier and his wife, Mary, reside in Nashville, Illinois. They have two children and six grandchildren.
State Farm Insurance Appeal
Karmeier, when contesting the election for the office of judge in Illinois, managed to raise US $ 4.8 million for his election campaign. This included a direct contribution of US $ 350,000 from the group of insurance service companies, the State Farm Insurance. Other affiliates of State Farm Insurance also paid for Karmeier's campaign. Around that time policyholders from State Farm Insurance had won US $ 1 billion against State Farm in Avery v. State Farm, and had prevailed at the intermediate appellate court. The appeal against the damages and award was pending before the Supreme Court. When Karmeier was elected, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper editorial read as - "Big business won a nice return on a US $ 4.3 million investment ... It now has a friendly justice". Karmeier acted as a judge in the State Farm appeal. Despite opposition, Karmeier refused to dissociate himself from the case and the appeal was decided in favor of State Farm Insurance by a majority of 4-2, with Karmeier in majority. US $ 600 million punitive damages as well as the award of US $ 457 million against State Farm were reversed.
- Roy A. Schotland, "Judicial Elections in the United States" Pp.27-28 "Global Corruption Report 2007: Corruption in Judicial Systems" Ed. Transparency International (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
- Michael Avery et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Docket No. 91494, (Illinois Supreme Court, 2005) http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2005/August/Opinions/Html/91494.htm