Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Mar. 16, 2015, 7:19am

A Granite City tavern accused in a slip and fall case claims two witnesses saw a customer fall on the street rather than the tavern’s steps, as alleged.

According to the Aug. 27 complaint, Ashley Montes claims she was leaving Jacobsmeyers Tavern at 1 a.m. on Jan. 11 when she slipped on ice and snow on the establishment’s steps.

In addition to blaming the defendant for failing to keep the exit free from ice and snow, she claims it failed to have a handrail attached to the exit platform, in violation of building code. She further claims the defendant failed to attach a canopy covering the landing and steps to keep ice and snow off the platform.

Montes claims she suffered a fractured femur and fibula, dislocated her knee and suffered pain.

Jacobsmeyers Tavern answered the complaint on Oct. 7, denying the allegations against it and accusing Montes of contributing to her alleged damages. The defendant claims Montes failed to keep a proper lookout for her own health and well-being and failed to take adequate precautions to protect herself from injury while walking on a wet, snowy or icy area.

The defendant also argues that any alleged damages are the result of a naturally occurring condition.

Montes is also accused of failing to file her complaint within the applicable two-year statute of limitations.

The plaintiff refuted the affirmative defenses on Oct. 7.

Jacobsmeyers Tavern filed a motion to quash or for protective order on Feb. 6, seeking to quash the plaintiff’s subpoenas and notices of depositions of defendant witnesses Michelle and Jason Yates.

The defendant explains that the Yateses witnessed the incident and will testify that Montes fell in the street, not on the defendant’s steps.

Plaintiff’s counsel, John H. Hustava of Collinsville, contacted the defendant’s counsel, the Leritz Plunkert & Bruning law firm, on Jan. 26 regarding their plan to depose the witnesses. The defendant requested to speak directly with the plaintiff’s attorney multiple times to arrange for Montes’s deposition to be taken first. However, each attempt to contact plaintiff’s counsel was unsuccessful, the defendant says.

“Plaintiff’s subpoenas and amended notices of deposition should be quashed or defendant should be granted a protective order requiring plaintiff be produced for deposition in advance of the depositions of Michelle Yates and Jason Yates because the anticipated testimony of plaintiff differs from the anticipated testimony of defendant’s witnesses so significantly that justice requires plaintiff meet her burden of setting out her prima facie case before defendant’s witnesses are presented,” the motion states.

Montes seeks a judgment of more than $50,000 in damages.

James C. Leritz, Kelly T. Kirkbride and Christopher P. Leritz of Leritz, Plunkert & Bruning in St. Louis represent Jacobsmeyers Tavern. It requests a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-1177

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