Last party settles in complicated Pontoon Beach accident case

Amelia Flood Mar. 26, 2010, 6:00am

A complicated lawsuit stemming from a 2006 Pontoon Beach car accident is over.

The last plaintiff and co-defendant in the suit settled with the other defendants and got final approval of the settlement March 17.

Plaintiff and co-defendant Julia Groves, the executor of her husband, David Groves' estate, entered into a confidential settlement with defendants Werner Enterprises Inc., its truck driver, Jose Velazquez, Proctor & Gamble Manufacturing Co., Safeco Insurance of Illinois and CP/IPERS Gateway LLC.

Terms of the settlement and what, if any, costs and fees that will be borne by the party were not available.

Settlement talks began in June 2009 when the Groves estate was left standing alone when two other parties in the case, Russell and Cynthia Martin, unexpectedly settled their suit.

The defendants had already filed claims for contribution against the Groves' estate.

The suit, that grew more complex as it went on, began in November 2006. Russell Martin was a passenger in the car driven by David Groves when it struck a tractor trailer backing out of a Pontoon Beach logistics facility.

The truck was driven by Velazquez. Werner Enterprises owned it.
Russell Martin sustained massive head injuries in the crash. David Groves died a few weeks later from his injuries.

Cynthia Martin, Russell Martin's wife, sued Julia Groves as executor of the her husband's estate.

The suit grew to encompass not only Werner Enterprises and Velazquez but also Proctor & Gamble – the company that leased the Pontoon Beach warehouse, YRC Logistics, CP/IPERS, the warehouse's leasing company and others.

CP/IPERS was granted summary judgment case in May 2009. YRC settled with the Martins and the Groves estate in June.

Then the Martins visibly shocked their co-plaintiff, the Groves estate, when they announced they had settled with all the defendants in June.

The terms of the Martins' settlement are also confidential. That left the Groves estate alone.

The Groves settlement was first proposed June 1, 2009, according to Crowder's order.

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

The Martins were represented by Joseph Bartholomew.

The Groves estate was 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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