Suit against Cassens up for motions hearing

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 17, 2005, 10:43pm

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack will consider several motions during an Aug. 24 hearing in a case involving a couple seeking more than $1 million in damages because of injuries from a truck's failed ratchet system.

Truck driver Larry Sandage and his wife, Sheila, filed a 19-count lawsuit on Nov. 19 against Cottrell Inc., Lisa Shashek, Cassens & Sons Inc., Cassens Corporation, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, and other "unknown" defendants.

Sheila Sandage is seeking damages for loss of income and consortium.

Stack will hear arguments on plaintiff's motion to amend complaint to add a punitive damage claim which all of the defendants oppose. He also will hear a motion from co-defendant, Lisa Shashek for a summary judgment.

Sandage, who was employed by Cassens Transport, alleges that on Nov. 18, 2002, he was performing his normal duties as a car hauler for his Illinois-based employer in Missouri.

On that day, Sandage claims he was injured while operating the ratchet system, a rig manufactured by the defendant, Cottrell.

The plaintiff alleges that while attempting to perform his normal work activities in the intended fashion, he sustained severe and permanent injuries to his neck and right shoulder. Sandage also claims he suffered repetitive trauma while exerting required and foreseeable force and pressure on the ratchet system.

Cottrell Inc. is named in the suit as it is believed to have designed, distributed and is the successor to the design of the rig. The identity of the manufacturer and current custodian of the broken chain is unknown to Sandage, but immediate disclosure of same by the defendants is requested.

Sandage believes Lisa Shashek who is the owner, commercial lessor and distributor of the rig which he was injured, knew of the propensity of the product to cause injury.

He also alleges the rig was operated, distributed, leased, and placed into the stream of commerce by defendants who each profited from the purchase, sale, lease and use of the rig, and each defendant was in a position to make the rig safe.

On Aug.3, Stack denied the defense motion to dismiss the claim based on forum non convenes.

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