Wendler pleads to keep Cassens in Madison County, despite judge's dismissal

Steve Korris Jan. 18, 2007, 4:37am

According to attorney Brian Wendler, contracts between Cassens Transport Company of Edwardsville and Nissan North America prove that a truck driver's lawsuit against Cassens, Nissan and others belongs in Madison County.

He claims the contracts prove it, but he won't put the contracts in the public record.

In a footnote to a Jan. 8 reply brief Wendler told Circuit Judge Daniel Stack that the contracts "may be subject to a protective order so cannot be filed."

He wrote that he would show Stack the contracts in the judge's chambers at the next hearing.

"These contracts establish Cassens Transport Company, the Madison County, Illinois based entity, is the real party in interest as such entity is obligated to indemnify and hold Nissan harmless for any personal injury such as the present action," Wendler wrote.

In the suit truck driver Gary Clark claimed he suffered injuries while hauling autos.

He named as first defendant Cottrell Inc., a Georgia trailer maker.

Next he named Cassens & Sons auto dealer, Cassens Corporation and Cassens family member Lisa Shashek.

Finally he named Nissan and General Motors.

In September Stack dismissed the suit so Clark could file it in Tennessee and apply Tennesse law.

Wendler moved to stay enforcement of the order. Cottrell opposed the motion.

Wendler, in reply to Cottrell, wrote that Nissan produced copies of contracts "in the context of another pending lawsuit."

He wrote that a provision holding Nissan harmless appeared in a 1989 contract, a 1993 contract and subsequent contracts including the most recent.

He wrote that the contracts undeniably established that California law applied to disputes betweens Nissan and Cassens.

"The trailer lease agreement for the trailer in issue in this case also contains a choice of law provision which undeniably states the laws of the State of Illinois apply," he wrote.

"Yet Cottrell has persuaded the Court that transfer of this action is proper because Tennessee law applies. This ruling was incorrect."

Charles Armbruster of the Lakin Law Firm placed his name on Wendler's reply.

Stack set a hearing Feb. 7.

More News