Shameful stretch

The Madison County Record Feb. 28, 2009, 12:41am

To the casual observer, it was just another car accident.

But to St. Louis plaintiff's lawyer Brian Stokes, the I-64 rush hour fender bender last week between Elizabeth Thompson and Angela Hobick was a show-me-the-money opportunity.

Like most of Stokes' car accident clients, Ms. Thompson had the standard bumps and bruises that dramatize well. But the driver who rear-ended her was special-- she had the potential for personal injury gold.

You see, Ms. Hobick is employed by the Fortune 500 company Pfizer. Or as Stokes framed it in his lawsuit against the company, she "was working for" the pharmaceutical giant at 5 p.m. when her car rear-ended Thompson's car, according to the suit.

How convenient for Stokes.

So in the lawsuit filed days after the crash by Stokes in St. Clair County Circuit Court, two different parties were blamed for his client's headaches, inflamed back, and "diminished enjoyment of life."

That's Hobick, negligent for failing to yield to stopped traffic. And that's Pfizer, who somehow is negligent for hiring Hobick.

With a straight face and perhaps dollar signs in his eyes, Stokes blamed the human resources department of a New York-based pharmaceutical company for a St. Clair County car accident. Apparently it's just another day at the office for those looking to make a cash mountain out of a fender-bender molehill.

Last summer Stokes sued on behalf of another bumped-and-bruised car accident victim and he made another far-fetched plea for big damages.

The plaintiff "is a teacher to children with developmental issues and autism. She's had to spend a lot of time managing her affairs that arose out of this accident," Stokes explained. "Once school starts, the children she teaches are going to be affected by this as well."

It is unknown whether the "children" filed their own lawsuits for being "affected."

Car accidents are just that--accidents. They aren't opportunities for some quick-draw lawyer to get a cash windfall. Stokes should be ashamed.

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