Maag chastised by judge over use of crude language in assault case

Amelia Flood Nov. 9, 2009, 8:00am


A Madison County judge chastised plaintiff attorney Thomas Maag for using crude language during a hearing involving a civil sexual assault case on Friday.

But Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth conceded Maag had a point in uttering a common term used to describe a sex act.

Maag represents Brittany Gresham who is suing Brian Trust and his Godfrey car dealership over an assault and confinement incident that occurred in February 2008.

At the hearing Maag was arguing for a broad discovery scope into Trust's sex life.

"I don't want any lawyer games where they say 'Oh, that wasn't sex, it was a b--- j--,'" Maag told Ruth.

While Ruth limited who Maag could ask questions about and for what time period, he ruled that the definition of sex was to remain clinical but broad.

According to the general allegations in her complaint, Gresham visited the Godfrey car dealership owned by Trust to buy a car.
While at the store, Trust acted as her salesman. After Gresham selected a car she wanted to buy, she alleges that Trust suggested the two go into his office to prepare and sign the purchaser's paperwork.

Once in the office, Gresham alleges that Trust began making lewd and obscene comments to her and that he flashed "extremely graphic pornography" on his computer screen so she could see it.

Gresham claims she objected to the material and then "immediately noticed that Defendant Trust was manually manipulating his own genitals inside of his pants."

Gresham claims she then attempted to leave. Trust then allegedly blocked the door, removed his genitals from his pants, exposed himself to Gresham and continued to "manually manipulate" them. Trust also allegedly demanded Gresham show him her breast.

At the hearing, Trust's attorney, Ryan Mahoney, referenced the fact that Trust has since been convicted of indecent exposure over the incident, although his client contends the incident was consensual.

Gresham is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and costs per count of the suit.

Additionally, Gresham is seeking punitive damages.

During arguments over what kinds of evidence from Trust's sex life should be discoverable, Mahoney argued that the interrogatories Maag had served were too broad and could include incidents that were innocent in nature such as consensual relationships.

Maag countered that the broad scope was necessary.

"If it's dirty, I want it," Maag said.

Trust and Trust Family Autos, the owner of Trust Auto Sales, had previously moved to have the case dismissed or to have parts of Gresham's complaint stricken.

Ruth denied the motion to dismiss in August but struck two paragraphs from two of the complaint's counts that dealt with the dealership's liability for its employees' conduct.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-268.

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