Attorney withdraws in Spearman case

Amelia Flood Dec. 18, 2009, 5:31am


Another attorney representing the plaintiff in a 2004 rear-end accident suit has withdrawn from the case.

Plaintiff Walter Spearman, appearing pro se, offered no objection to his attorney, Rodney Caffey of the LakinChapman law firm, bowing out of the case.

Caffey represented Spearman during the second trial of his case against defendant Michael Sunley. Spearman's first attorney, Robert Edmonds of Alton, also withdrew.

Spearman had expressed his displeasure with Caffey in previous hearings, claiming that he was kept out of the loop and that Caffey did not devote enough time on his case.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth, who oversaw the second trial, allowed Caffey to withdraw Friday morning. He reset all the other pending motions in the case for a hearing Jan. 8 at 10 a.m.

Ruth also told Spearman that he would have to file separate motions on issues he raised in his response to Caffey's withdrawal. Spearman asked Ruth to order Caffey to release his case file to him, to release any money paid to Caffey's firm by Spearman's insurance company and to release any part of the about $125,000 a jury awarded him in May.

According to Caffey, the Lakin firm has no moneys that Spearman is entitled to because they have not received any. Sunley had filed a motion to enforce the judgment the filing of liens by any other parties.

One of Spearman's doctors, Dr. William Sprich, filed a physician's lien last week.

Caffey and Edmonds were awarded $41,000 in attorney's fees to split over Spearman's objections in July.

Although Spearman asked several times that Ruth address the other issues raised in his response, Ruth told him that was out of order.

"I can appreciate the fact that you're confused," Ruth told Spearman. "The law is difficult even sometimes for lawyers. But you need to look into this, roll up your sleeves and file whatever motions you feel are appropriate."

Spearman had indicated in his response to Caffey's motion for withdrawal that he plans a second appeal in the case.

The first trial's verdict was set aside by the appellate court because the jury only awarded Spearman damages for his medical costs.

Spearman suffered a neck injury when Sunley rearended him.

The case had been assigned to then Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

Spearman now represents himself.

Sunley is represented by Stephen Mudge and others.

Sprich is represented by Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. and others.

The case is Madison case number 04-L-007.

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