Injured car haulers target Jack Cooper Transport

Kelly Holleran Jun. 19, 2009, 7:33am

Two car haulers and their wives are suing an employee of Jack Cooper Transport, alleging the haulers fell while walking on the rigs of trailers.

Gary and Diana Smith and John and Jackie Street filed two separate lawsuits June 11 in Madison County Circuit Court against Roger Owens.

The Smiths say Gary Smith was performing his normal duties as a car hauler on Oct. 30, 2007, when he was injured while maneuvering on the upper deck of the rig.

The Streets say John Street fell while using a Cotrell rig on Oct. 26, 2007.

The rigs were supposed to have a non-skid paint surface, but the Smiths allege many Jack Cooper Transport employees have been injured while walking on the upper deck of rigs in attempt to accomplish their trucking duties.

"Jack Cooper Transport and its officers, directors and supervisors have been aware for many years that its employees claim to have been injured in the above described manner and may bring product liability lawsuits," the complaints say. "Jack Cooper Transport has participated in such lawsuits both formally and informally over the years."

So after Gary Smith's and John Street's falls, Roger Owens, the Jack Cooper Transport employee named as a defendant, ordered the trailers on which the men fell to be refurbished after their accidents, according to the complaints.

Owens failed to preserve the trailer on which Gary Smith fell, according to the complaint.

Now, the trailer as it existed on the date of Gary Smith's accident is unavailable for forensic analysis and Gary Smith and John Street say they could potentially lose their rights to compensation.
The Smiths and the Streets are each seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs.

Peter J. Maag of Wendler Law in Edwardsville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case numbers: 09-L-620,09-L-621.

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