Plaintiff not negotiating settlement in Alton foot amputation case

Amelia Flood Jan. 22, 2010, 9:56am

The plaintiff who won a $1.375 million verdict in November in Madison County for the amputation of his right foot and lower leg says there are not settlement negotiations taking place despite claims made in a motion filed by the defendant.

Plaintiff Steven Kirk also is still seeking sanctions against defendant Enver Hamiti's insurance company for allegedly bribing a mentally ill woman to lie on the witness stand.

Kirk also filed a new lawsuit Jan. 20, seeking $50,000 in damages from Allstate Insurance Company, Hamiti's auto insurance policy issuer. Hamiti assigned Kirk the rights to the suit, claiming that the company acted to Hamiti's detriment in its handling of the case.
Allstate settled separately with Kirk in the initial case.

Kirk sued Hamiti for negligence after Hamiti allegedly ran a stop sign in Alton, hit Kirk and his motorcycle and injured Kirk to the point where he lost part of his right leg.

The jury awarded Kirk $1.375 million after a trial featuring the disclosure of Kirk's drinking on the day of the accident as well as the false testimony of a woman who claimed to have seen Kirk riding drunk from her apartment window.

The plaintiff rebutted her testimony with that of her landlord who brought the hand-written rental application she filed with him showing that she did not occupy the apartment until six months after the accident.

The woman testified that she is mentally ill and learning disabled.

Kirk's attorney, Chris Kolker, filed a motion following the trial, asking presiding judge, Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla, to sanction Mercury Insurance Company for its alleged role in the witnesses false testimony.

Hamiti filed a motion earlier this month asking for more time to file post-trial motions. In that motion, he alleged that settlement negotiations were taking place.

In the response motion filed Jan. 19, Kolker denies that any such thing is happening.

"Plaintiff is unaware of any such negotiations," the motion reads.
In the motion, Kolker goes on to state that the defendant's insurance company did not respond to an offer to negotiate the plaintiff posed to it last year.

Kolker goes on to allege in the motion that the insurer is trying to derail the case. According to the response motion, the insurance company has filed a declaratory action in Lake County, Ill. attempting to remove the case there.

"It is obvious the insurer is attempting to deny this Court of hearing resolution of this case and to inconvenience the parties as much as possible," the motion reads. "The current attempt to delay this action only serves to give the insurer an upper hand in the declaratory action at the expense of the Plaintiff and insured."

Hylla was originally set to hear motions in the suit Jan. 22 but that setting was canceled and reset.

The next hearing date in the matter is Feb. 26.

Hamiti is represented by Mark Kurz.

No attorneys are listed for the insurers.

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

The new Allstate suit is Madison case number 10-L-50.

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