Crowder gives final approval to one party in complex Pontoon Beach case

Amelia Flood Oct. 26, 2009, 9:31am

Two plaintiffs in a complicated negligence suit are officially out of the suit for good.

Plaintiffs Russell and Cynthia Martin, whose first negligence suit sparked numerous counterclaims and pulled in multiple defendants, have been given final approval on their June settlement with all parties involved.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder signed the order approving the June settlement Oct. 16.

The June settlement surprised attorneys for the estate of David Groves, a co-defendant and co-plaintiff in the suit, who now remains to face counterclaims from other defendants in the case.

The suit started with a car accident in November 2006. Russell Martin was a passenger in the car driven by David Groves when it struck a tractor trailer backing out from a Pontoon Beach Logistics facility. Russell Martin suffered severe head injuries in the crash. David Groves later died from his injuries.

Cynthia Martin, Russell Martin's wife, sued Julia Groves for negligence as executor of her husband's estate. Eventually, the Martins' suit encompassed the driver of the tractor trailer, Jose' Velazquez, his employer, Werner Enterprises Inc., the leaser of the logistics site, the company that leased the site and the logistics company it had hired to oversee the running of the site.

The Groves estate filed suit against the companies and Velazquez.
The companies and Velazquez then filed claims for contribution against the Groves estate.

The Martins' June settlement terms were confidential.

CP/IPERS, the company that leased the Pontoon Beach site, was granted summary judgment in May. YRC Logistics settled with the Martins and the Groves in June.

The remaining parties are set to go to trial next year.

The Martins were represented by Joseph Bartholomew.

The Groves estate is represented by Tom Buckley and others.

Velazquez and Werner Enterprises are represented by Bill Brasher and Richard Nash.

Proctor and Gamble Manufacturing, the tenant company, is represented by Matthew Reh. Reh also represented CP/IPERS.

Michael Kleffner represented YRC as lead counsel.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-224.

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