Ann Maher Jan. 28, 2014, 5:08pm

A case management conference is set March 26 in Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian’s court in what could be the longest-running civil suit in the Madison County courthouse.

How old is it? Karin Danahy’s product liability claim against Wood River Ford is so old it was once presided over by a judge who retired in 2002 – P.J. O’Neill.

Danahy’s lawsuit, which claims injuries she suffered in an accident would not have been as severe if she had had an airbag in her vehicle, also has the distinction of being presided over by the longest-serving judge in the state of Illinois – Matoesian. He came onto the bench in 1965 as a magistrate, a position that was eliminated in 1970 upon enactment of a new state Constitution, according to reporting by The Southern.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman is next in line as longest-serving judge in Illinois. She began her career on the bench in Vermillion County in 1974.

As far as Danahy’s claim goes, the most recent action in the 2000 case was in November when Matoesian denied a defense motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute.

The original complaint, which initially named Ford Motor Co. as defendant, was not available as a scanned document at the courthouse – like most active, contemporary cases are.

At some point during the case history, Ford Motor Co. was dismissed.

After a lot of prodding by defense attorney Robert A. Miller of Chesterfield, Mo., Danahy answered defense interrogatories in October 2006. 

Danahy, who was a registered nurse, calculated a loss of income until her age of retirement at 68 at $580,320.  She answered that she had received $100,000 in a settlement from the insurer of the other driver involved in the accident.

In answer to a question whether she had received Social Security disability benefits, Danahy replied, “Yes, but Plaintiff objects to this production because it is not admissible evidence and does not lead to the discovery of other admissible evidence.”

She also claimed that the accident caused post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Danahy is represented by Wood River attorney Bob Perica.

The case went dormant for three years. Since late 2009, motion hearings have been set and many have been canceled. Trial dates have also been set and canceled.  

Madison County case number 00-L-202

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