Madison County Circuit Court hosted 21 Law Division trials in 2014, resulting in 15 plaintiffs' verdicts that netted $2,367.125.82 in judgments.
Cases filed in the court's Law Division are ones seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, and can include auto accident injury suits, breach of contract disputes, medical malpractice, asbestos and product liability.
Judgments in two cases involving alleged medical negligence and personal injury accounted for $1.9 million of the total.
In August, jurors awarded $1 million to the family of a young Staunton girl injured during birth three years ago at Anderson Hospital.
A jury composed of seven women and five men found for Bailei Rae and against Maryville obstetrician/gynecologist James Dalla Riva, M.D. following a six day medical malpractice trial in Circuit Judge William Mudge’s court.
Bailei suffers permanent nerve root damage and brachial plexus injury – a condition that limits movement in her left arm.
Her family’s attorney, David Zevan of St. Louis, argued that Dalla Riva applied excessive downward traction or excessive tilting of Bailei’s head during birth.
The girl’s mother, Jamie Rae, also claimed in her lawsuit that Dalla Riva should have performed a C-section because of Bailei’s size. She was born 9 pounds, 2 ounces.
Dalla Riva, represented by James Neville of Belleville, had argued that the child’s injury was due to the forces of labor. (12-L-736)
In January, jurors returned a verdict of $725,000 in compensation for injuries suffered by Trevor Brady at a Plocher Construction Co. work site in Edwardsville and $185,000 for his parents, Brian Brady and Dannette Dorsey.
Plaintiff’s attorney Richard Witzel had sought $3.3 million for Trevor who sustained a facial laceration and mouth and teeth injuries after striking iron construction beams while riding his bike to Lincoln Middle School in Edwardsville in 2010.
Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder presided in a damages-only trial against Plocher Construction Co.
Plocher had admitted negligence for allowing two 20-foot angle iron beams to protrude onto a sidewalk without barricades at a construction site at 411 St. Louis Street in Edwardsville. Plocher was three months into the construction of the law firm Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb when the incident occurred March 5, 2010.
Witzel asked jurors to compensate Trevor, who sat at the plaintiff’s table throughout trial, for disfigurement, loss of normal life, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
“Money is not going to unscar his cheek,” Witzel said. “Money is not going to level the plane of his jaw and teeth. Money is not going to change his face and the emotional dealings that Trevor is going to deal with in the future.”
Plocher attorney David Simkins of St. Louis suggested jurors award approximately $250,000 to the family, a figure that would include the actual medical expenses.
He said Plocher took responsibility for the accident on the same day it happened. (10-L-1154).
Of the 21 Law Division cases at trial in 2014, 17 of them were decided by juries and four were bench trials.
Two of the oldest cases decided were from 2008.
In July, jurors found for Union Pacific and against plaintiff Guy Webb in a second trial over injuries sustained in a private railroad crossing accident in Iron County, Mo. in 2007.
Webb's first trial ended more favorably for him as jurors in 2010 awarded him $2.5 million. That amount was reduced by half, as jurors then found Webb to be 50 percent comparatively at fault as driver in the accident.
But, Union Pacific appealed the judgment, and in 2012 the Fifth District Appellate Court reversed Matoeisan. The appellate court held that Matoesian erred by allowing the plaintiff to rely on certain industry safety standards, but prohibited Union Pacific from showing that those standards apply to public crossings, not private crossings. A new trial was ordered and held July 14-18, where jurors found Webb 100 percent at fault.
Webb's attorney Eric Carlson is appealing Matoesian's denial of post trial motions seeking judgment notwithstanding verdict or new trial. (08-L-1139).
In James Holloway v. Dawn Wood, jurors found for Holloway and awarded $43,900. (08-L-262).
Other Law Division cases decided at trial in 2014:
- 12-L-460: Thomas Garrett v. Wild Duck Saloon, defense verdict;
- 11-L-1118: Robert Dorman v. David Tarrant, defense verdict;
- 13-L-31: Thomas King v. AW Chesterton, defense verdict;
- 10-L-461: Korey Duncan v. Dora Nolte, plaintiff verdict for $10,000;
- 12-L-557: Ashley Logsdon v. Charles Marin, defense verdict and counter award of $17,724.50;
- 12-L-83: Stephen Evans v. Robert Burns, plaintiff (bench) verdict for $39,000;
- 12-L-224: Timothy Hess v. Daniel Zitta, plaintiff (bench) verdict for $15,000;
- 10-L-1035; Dawn Sloan v. David Harris, plaintiff (bench) verdict for $51,677.47;
- 12-L-1474: Charles King v. Country Mutual, plaintiff verdict for $138,325.34;
- 13-L-1343: Matthew Sprong v. Maggie Sheradan, defense verdict;
- 11-L-860: Maria Day v. Bonnie Rose, plaintiff verdict for $13,036;
- 13-L-869: Martin Tiemann v. Jessica Weissman, plaintiff verdict for $29,347;
- 14-L-323: Thermoplyae v. Nameoki Properties, plaintiff (bench) verdict for $25,870.05;
- 10-L-828: Collin Obertz v. Gary Robinson, plaintiff verdict for $11,263.63;
- 10-L-174: Kathy Pisetta v. David Thompson, plaintiff verdict for $10,416.90;
- 10-L-41: William Simon v, Kenneth Elder, defense verdict; and
- 12-L-1915: Charles Foster v. Jennifer Byrd, plaintiff verdict for $51,564.93