Jury awards $1.375 million in Alton foot amputation suit

Amelia Flood Nov. 23, 2009, 6:41am


After deliberations stretched late into the night Friday, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiff Steven Kirk more than $1.375 million for injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident.

Kirk was able to recover the $1.375 out of a total award of $1.7 million. The jury found Kirk was 20 percent responsible for the accident.The verdict set off $100,000 so the final verdict came out to $1.275 million and costs.

The verdict was formally entered Nov. 23.

The jury returned its verdict at 8:37 p.m. Friday night after going into deliberations just before 1 p.m. that day. The trial began Nov. 16.

Plaintiff's attorney Chris Kolker had asked the jury to award his client up to $5 million while defense attorney Marc Kurz argued that the jury should not even consider damages.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla presided.

Kirk sued Enver Hamiti, the man he claimed ran a stop sign in Alton three years ago. Hamiti's truck struck Kirk's motorcycle and injured Kirk. Kirk's right foot and lower part of his right leg had to be amputated due to the severity of his injuries.

Hamiti claimed that Kirk contributed to the accident.

The trial featured revelations of the plaintiff's drinking and the possibly false testimony of a defense witness who claimed she saw the accident.

While testifying, Kirk admitted under cross examination that he did not recall how many drinks he had on the day of the accident.

According to physician testimony and his medical records following the accident, Kirk's blood alcohol level was well above the state's legal limit at the time of the accident.

Witness Heather Brockman testified for the defense that she had seen and heard the accident from her Ridge Street apartment. She claimed that Kirk was weaving and speeding.

However, the plaintiff called her landlord to the stand. He produced her handwritten rental application from December 2006, six months following the accident. On the stand, Brockman admitted she had mental illness and learning disabilities.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-165.

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