Company seeks dismissal of wrongful death suit

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 24, 2008, 10:48am

Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging has filed a motion to dismiss a wrongful death complaint filed against them.

Represented by Michael Lawder of St. Louis, Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging argues a company known as Ace Doran Brokerage Company is the company that brokered the load involved in this case.

The estate of Steve DeVries filed the complaint against Metro Contract Services (MCS) and Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging Company alleging DeVries was killed when the load on his tractor trailer fell on top of him.

According to the complaint filed May 29 in Madison County Circuit Court, DeVries was employed by Smith Trucking as a driver from August 2006 through August 2007.

In August 2007, Smith Trucking was hired to haul an enclosed semi-trailer load containing miscellaneous piping machinery and a large control panel to be used in the operation of a water treatment plant.

DeVries' estate alleges he was dispatched to Tower Automotive in Granite City to pick up the load.

According to the complaint, MCS and Ace Doran were the responsible parties who loaded, rigged, arranged, chained, positioned, secured, organized and contracted with other people to load the water treatment plant equipment in DeVries' enclosed semi-trailer.

The estate alleges DeVries departed from Granite City once his trailer was loaded and drove to the Smith parking lot in Bethel Heights, Ark., where the trailer was to remain until he was to depart for the anticipated delivery location in Oklahoma.

DeVries' estate alleges that while in the Smith parking lot the large control panel fell out of the back of his semi-trailer.

"The control panel fell on top of Mr. DeVries causing him to sustain serious, critical, and catastrophic injuries, resulting in his death on the same day," the complaint states.

His estate claims the defendants had a duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care for DeVries' safety and knew or should have known that improperly loading the trailer can cause injury or death to the truck driver, other motorists or people required to inspect or unload the materials.

Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging argues that since they are not a proper defendant in the case, the matter should be dismissed based upon a defect contained in the complaint.

"In this case, that is, in fact, that Plaintiff's have sued the wrong party, specifically, that this load was not brokered by Ace Doran hauling, but by Ace Doran Brokerage," the complaint states.

Ace Doran Hauling argues that it is easily proved that they are not the proper entity that allegedly brokered the load and was not involved in any other aspect of the case.

According to the estate, as a result of DeVries death, his wife suffered and continues to suffer from the loss of his society, emotional support, affection, financial support and funeral costs.

His estate also claims that his wife will suffer losses of his future earnings, loss of his contribution to properties, possessions, medical benefits, retirement savings and other duties and responsibilities.

The estate is represented by Shane Hampton and Ted Gianaris of SimmonsCooper in East Alton. The estate is seeking damages in excess of $150,000, plus costs.

Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has yet to set a hearing date on the motion.

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