Sears wants saw blade case moved to Scott County

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 28, 2008, 11:50am

Dan Ball

Judge Crowder

Sears is asking Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder to transfer a product liability case to Scott County, arguing the case has little if any connection to Madison County.

Represented by Dan Ball of Bryan Cave in St. Louis, Sears argues Crowder should transfer the cased based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens.

Alvin Wellenreiter filed the suit against Sears and the saw's manufacturer on Dec. 18, alleging he cut his left fingers while using a radial arm saw at his father's home on Dec. 19, 2005.

According to the suit, at the time the defendants manufactured, marketed and sold the saw, they carelessly and negligently failed to adequately warn as to the dangers of using certain saw blades when operating the saw.

Wellenreiter claims the defendants failed to place a guard at the places where people likely were to come in contact with the blade and have their limbs cut. He also claims they failed to provide adequate devices to prevent kickbacks during the operation of the radial arm saw.

He further alleges the defendants inadequately designed the hooks on the "Excalibur Dado" blade and failed to warn of the dangers of the blade when operating certain saws and performing certain cuts.

Sears wants the case moved arguing that the accident occurred in Winchester and the only connection to Madison County is that Wellenreiter allegedly resides there. Wellenreiter's complaint states that he resides in Godfrey.

Sears also argues that Wellenreiter received his initial medical treatment in Scott County, and that the saw's owner also resides there.

Citing the Illinois Supreme Court decision in Gridley v. State Farm, Ball argues that Crowder is permitted to decline jurisdiction and direct that the lawsuit to be filed in an alternate forum that can better serve the convenience of the parties and the ends of justice.

"While the facts are not yet fully developed, in the complaint plaintiff does not allege any significant contacts with Madison County," Ball writes.

He adds, "Defendants believe that after some forum non conveniens discovery, the facts will show that plaintiff's case, has little, if any, connection to Madison County."

Wellenreiter claims he sustained permanent injuries to his left hands and limbs, sustained a severe injury to his nervous system which caused great pain, medical expenses and lost wages.

He is represented by Laef Lorton of Jerseyville, and seeks a judgment in excess of $100,000, plus costs.

Crowder has yet to set a date for a hearing.

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Bryan Cave
1 Metropolitan Square
St. Louis, MO 63102

Illinois Supreme Court
200 E Capitol Ave
Springfield, IL 62701

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