Cottrell claims plaintiff fraudulently joined Cassens' businesses in suit

Steve Korris Dec. 5, 2008, 12:22am


EAST ST. LOUIS – Owners of Georgia trailer maker Cottrell Inc. claim a Tennessee client of Edwardsville attorney Brian Wendler pulled a fraud when he sued Cottrell in Madison County, and they ask U.S. District Judge William Stiehl to take the case.

Amy Lorenz-Moser of Bryan Cave in St. Louis, representing Cottrell, removed the suit to federal court in East St. Louis in November.

Sheffer, a Cassens Transport mechanic, claims he injured his head, neck and shoulders while trying to release a wheel from a Cottrell rig in Smyrna, Tennessee.

According to Lorenz-Moser, Wendler's complaint fraudulently joined Cassens Corporation, Cassens and Sons, and a third family business, Marysville Releasing Inc.

There was no possibility that Sheffer could state a cause of action against the three, Lorenz-Moser wrote.

For each one, she wrote that jurisdictional facts were fraudulently pled.

Though she represented Cottrell, she laid out a case for the Cassens family.

"Cassens & Sons did not own or lease the rig at issue, and did not distribute or place the rig in the stream of commerce," she wrote.

"The other allegations against Cassens and Sons are untrue or do not give rise to a cause of action under the applicable law," she wrote.

"Cassens Corporation never participated in or exercised control over the design and testing process of Cottrell trailers, as alleged in the complaint," she wrote.

"Marysville Releasing ceased to operate in any way at the Smyrna terminal in 2003, at the same time it ceased to be plaintiff's employer," she wrote.

Workers compensation would bar recovery for conduct prior to 2003, she wrote.

Along with Cottrell and the Cassens family, Sheffer seeks damages from truck maker Navistar, wheel maker Fontaine Fifth Wheel, unknown owners and former owners of the truck, and unknown distributors of
the wheel.

The complaint states that "all defendants are hereby requested to immediately identify the correct name of all persons and entities described above as unknown parties."

The Cassens' businesses have not answered the complaint.

On Dec. 2, U.S. Magistrate Judge Phil Frazier extended to Dec. 25 a deadline for Gordon Broom of Edwardsville to answer for Maryville Releasing.

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Organizations in this Story

Bryan Cave
1 Metropolitan Square
St. Louis, MO 63102

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