Opposing lawyers seek sanctions in Yount v. Shashek

Steve Korris Jun. 2, 2006, 3:15am

Gordon Broom

The case of Keith Yount vs. Lisa Shashek keeps getting uglier, with each side calling on Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to impose sanctions on the other.

At least Shashek doesn't have to worry about it any longer.

Stack dismissed Shashek from the case May 24, after she proved she did not lease an automobile hauling trailer that Yount blames for injuries he allegedly suffered.

Edwardsville auto dealer Cassens & Sons and another family business, Cassens Corporation, now stand as defendants.

Shashek is a granddaughter of a founder of the family business.

In January the Lakin Law Firm prepared the suit in cooperation with the firm of Wendler & Ezra.

Charles Armbruster of the Lakin firm signed the complaint along with an emergency motion for Cassens & Sons to answer questions before the statute of limitations ran out.

On Jan. 26, attorney Thomas Maag of Wendler and Ezra took the complaint and the emergency motion to the courthouse.

Maag had just switched from the Lakin firm to Wendler & Ezra.

Maag filed the suit. Chief Justice Edward Ferguson assigned it to Circuit Judge Don Weber.

Maag took the suit to Associate Judge Barbara Crowder, who signed an emergency order requiring speedy answers from Cassens & Sons.

Cassens & Sons removed the case to U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, but a judge bounced it back to Madison County.

At a hearing in March, Maag told Weber he did not know Ferguson had assigned the suit to Weber.

The Lakin firm moved to substitute for Weber. In Illinois every party to a case gets a free shot to remove a judge without cause.

Weber allowed substitution but asked the Fifth District appellate court if improper judge shopping could waive a party's automatic right of substitution.

Ferguson assigned the case to Stack, who declared Crowder's order void "ab initio" – from the beginning.

Attorney Brian Wendler moved April 5 for sanctions against defense attorney Gordon Broom. Wendler accused Broom of playing games with discovery.

Broom responded that plaintiffs still expected him to obey Crowder's order.

He wrote, "The mere fact that plaintiff's attorneys continue to argue about the validity of that order is a testament to their lack of credibility."

Maag wrote in reply that, "Half truths are equivalent to outright lies."

When Shashek moved for summary judgment in her favor, plaintiff attorneys moved for discovery of her interest.

Broom responded that plaintiffs moved for discovery to harass Shashek and delay her inevitable dismissal.

He wrote that plaintiff attorneys never had a good faith basis for suing her. He wrote that they did not try to identify the lessor of the trailer before they sued.

He asked Stack to impose sanctions on plaintiff's counsel.

Broom also moved to dismiss Cassens & Sons. Stack set a June 28 hearing on that.

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