Maag offers no explanation in single appeal of eight Stack orders

Steve Korris Nov. 7, 2007, 6:49am

MOUNT VERNON – Thomas Maag, unhappy with Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack for sending a Tennessee trucker with a Tennessee claim to a Tennessee court, seeks in a single appeal to overturn that decision and seven other orders Stack signed in the case.

One of the orders favored Maag's client, Gary Clark, and Maag offers no clue why he challenges it.

In fact, Maag hasn't explained his reasons for appealing any of Stack's orders.

As of Nov. 2, more than three months after Maag took Clark's case to the Fifth District appellate court, he had not submitted a single word of argument.

Stack dismissed Clark's claim last year and directed him to refile it in Tennessee.

Attorney Brian Wendler filed the suit for Clark in 2004, claiming he suffered injuries loading vehicles on a trailer.

Clark sought damages from Nissan North America, General Motors, and Cottrell Inc., a Georgia trailer maker.

He also sought damages from Edwardsville auto dealer Cassens and Sons and two other family businesses, Cassens Corporation and Maryville Releasing.

He also sought damages from family member Lisa Shashek.

The defendants moved to produce Clark's medical records, and in 2005 Stack granted the motion.

Wendler served a deposition notice on Cassens employee Dwight Kay, and the Cassens defendants moved to quash the deposition.

Stack ruled that the deposition would proceed.

Cassens and Sons moved to dismiss a count of strict liability, and Stack granted the motion.

The defendants moved to dismiss the entire suit, arguing that it belonged in a more convenient forum.

Stack granted the motion Sept. 15, 2006.

By then, Maag had left the Lakin Law Firm and joined Wendler's firm.

Wendler and Maag asked Stack to reconsider his Tennessee decision.

Although Stack had decided to toss Clark's claim to Tennessee, he chose to extract two Cassens businesses from the case before turning it loose.

In February he granted summary judgment to Cassens Corporation, finding no connection between the corporation and Clark's claim.

At a hearing in July he granted summary judgment to Cassens and Sons.

He denied reconsideration of the order sending the case to Tennessee.

Maag asked Stack to preclude Cottrell from adding witnesses in Tennessee, but Stack said he couldn't do that.

In the appeal that followed Maag challenged every order, including the one that allowed Dwight Kay's deposition to proceed.

Under Maag's name appeared that of Richard Armbruster, of the Lakin firm.

Maag attached Stack's orders but he did not express his objections to them.

Since then the Fifth District has received nothing from Maag but transcripts of six hearings in Stack's court, and they arrived late.

Attorneys have entered appearances for the defendants but the appeal has required no further response on their part.

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