$1.3 million sought by man's family for fatal stabbing

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 29, 2004, 9:25am

The family of a Collinsville man who was stabbed to death in the city's VFW on Feb. 28 is seeking $1.3 million from the bar owners and the men charged with his murder.

After becoming intoxicated at the "V-Lounge," located at 3125 Fairmount Road in Collinsville, Nathan M. Hayes and Roscoe Friese brutally attacked Kenneth J. Mims, striking him in the face, head, neck, back, arms, and legs, according to the suit.

"(Mims) was severely and permanently injured--both externally and internally--in numerous parts of his nervous systems, and their functions impaired, which resulted in his untimely death," the complaint states.

Mims' daughter, Natasha Kite of Collinsville, was named special administrator of her father’s estate. The 27-count lawsuit was filed Nov. 23.

The named defendants are The V, V-Lounge, Homer Wyatt, State Park Post No. 8996, Veteran of Foreign Wars of the United States, Inc. and Hayes and Friese, who are being held without bond on first degree murder charges in the Madison County jail.

Hayes' trial is set to begin Dec. 13 before Circuit Judge Charles Romani Jr. Friese's trial has not yet been set by Circuit Judge Ann Callis. The suit seeks to recover $150,000 each from Hayes and Friese.

In Count I of the complaint against The V, at least $50,000 is being sought under Dram Shop laws.

Mims' daughter also is seeking at least $150,000 in damages against The V for negligence-wrongful death and survivorship and funeral expenses. The suit alleges The V failed to properly install adequate security at the bar, failed to properly warn patrons of the dangerous activities of the parties that were present and failed to properly illuminate the area in the establishment where the incident took place.

The V also allegedly failed to intervene on behalf of Mims after an attack, failed to train employees on how to avoid or stop physical assaults, and the V failed to notify authorities in a timely manner.

At least $200,000 is being sought from V-Lounge, which owned the property, for dramshop, wrongful death, survivorship and medical and funeral expenses. Property owner Homer Wyatt, businessman Hugh Horstman who leased The V and V-Lounge, State Park Post 8996, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Inc. are also being sued for at least $200,000 on the same counts.

Kite is represented by Patrick Johnson of Edwardsville.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge George Moran.

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