Venue change granted by Matoesian

Steve Korris Jul. 14, 2005, 9:24am

Troy Bozarth

Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian has transferred a local man’s class action suit against a Samsung Electronics subsidiary to a court in suburban Chicago.

Matoesian granted Samsung Telecommunications' transfer motion July 8, bouncing the case of plaintiff James Brooks to the Du Page County courthouse in Wheaton.

Brooks, of Bethalto, sued Samsung Telecommunications last year, complaining that the screen on his wireless phone went blank. His attorney, Evan Buxner of Brentwood, Mo., asked Matoesian to certify Brooks as representative of all buyers of the phone.

In the suit, Brooks stated he received a replacement phone from a store, but the same thing happened.

Samsung Telecommunications attorney Troy Bozarth of Edwardsville moved in November for transfer, arguing that Brooks did not buy the phone in Madison County.

Bozarth argued that the company had no office nor did any business in Madison County.

He told Matoesian the company had offices in Du Page and Cook counties, and asked the judge to send the case to Du Page County.

In an affidavit, company executive Roy Cole stated that Brooks bought the phone in Lewisville, Texas.

Matoesian set hearings on the transfer motion Feb. 2 and March 1, but each time the parties agreed to continue.

Brooks beefed up his legal team, adding Clayton, Mo. attorneys Jeffrey Lowe and John Carey. He also added attorney Christopher Byron of Edwardsville.

Their response to the transfer motion argued that the case belonged in Madison County because Brooks used the phone there.

They also pointed out a blunder in the transfer motion. Brooks had not bought the phone in Texas. He had bought it in Fairview Heights--in St. Clair County.

Samsung executive Cole filed an affidavit June 2, retracting his earlier statement. Bozarth filed an amended motion for transfer the next day.

Bozarth argued that Samsung Telecommunications does not manufacture phones. He also pointed out that Brooks could not remember if his phone failed in Madison County.

“It would be ludicrous to take the position that the simple use of a product in a specific location could subject the product’s seller to venue in that location,” he wrote.

“If that were the case,” he wrote, “venue requirements would be meaningless for all products except those few that are simply too heavy to be moved.”

In response, Buxner challenged the company’s assertion that it had an office in Du Page County. He wrote that the person who the company identified as its representative in the county worked at home.

On July 8, Matoesian heard oral arguments and granted the motion.

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