An Illinois man chose to protest an appellate court’s decision in his own way Wednesday. Dr. Roger Herrin, who lost his son in a car accident in 2001, had to pay back money awarded to him by a judge, so he payed part of it back in quarters.
Herrin told WSIL TV 3 he chose to pay the settlement in quarters only because he “couldn’t do it in pennies.”
According to court records, in June 2001, Herrin’s 15-year-old son Michael was in a Jeep hit by a truck that ran a stop sign. There were three other passengers in the Jeep who suffered injuries. Michael Herrin was thrown from the Jeep and killed.
Dr. Herrin accepted a settlement offer of $1.65 million on behalf of his son’s estate. At the time, a judge ruled he should also receive an additional payout of almost $678,000 from both the insurance policy of the Jeep and the truck.
But under Illinois law, an appellate court found that Herrin’s estate was not entitled to money from the Jeep’s insurance policy, because a larger payout was already given to the survivors of the Jeep accident, who had over $900,000 in claims. Herrin was then ordered to pay back money to the other accident victims.
Thirty-six-hundred pounds of quarters were delivered to the offices of Douglas Dorris, an attorney for one of the other passengers in the Jeep. The seventy-five bags, containing 4,000 quarters each, had to be taken by a Brinks truck from the law office to a bank to be counted.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Dr. Herrin said, “They were not happy. They didn’t know what they were going to do with it. And I wasn’t real congenial.”
Mark Prince, a lawyer representing the other two accident victims, said, “If he wants to pay in quarters, that’s his business.”
A retired podiatrist, Dr. Herrin has a company that owns three nursing homes. He is currently a member of the Southern Illinois University board of trustees, and has served on other state government boards.