Plaintiff moves for default judgment in foot amputation case

Amelia Flood Apr. 1, 2010, 6:00am




An Alton man who won more than $1 million in a suit over an accident that caused him to lose his right foot has asked for default judgment against the insurance company that settled his claims before trial.

Steven Kirk moved for default judgment against Allstate Insurance Company March 5. Kirk sued Allstate in January in place of Enver Hamiti, the man who hit Kirk after allegedly running an Alton stop sign four years ago. Kirk lost his right foot in the accident.

Kirk's suit against Hamiti went to trial last year. Jurors awarded Kirk over $1 million.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder will hear motions in the Allstate case April 9 at 9 a.m.

Kirk sued Allstate, Hamiti's insurance company for allegedly settling his claims against it without protecting Hamiti.

The 2010 suit seeks damages of at least $50,000 and costs.

Kirk also has a suit pending against Mercury Insurance Company related to the Alton accident. In that suit, Kirk alleges that Mercury bribed and coached a mentally ill woman to testify at the Hamiti suit's trial.

That witness's testimony was shown to be false when her former landlord took the stand and presented the handwritten rental application showing the she did in the apartment overlooking the accident site and could not have witnessed the July 2006 incident.

In the March 3 motion, Kirk asks for default judgment pointing the fact that Allstate did not enter an appearance or answer the suit within 30 days.

Allstate filed its answer March 8.

In that answer, Allstate denies it did not protect Hamiti when it settled with Kirk. Instead, the company alleges counterclaims against Kirk for fraud and equitable estoppels.

It argues that Kirk never intended to settle with the company in good faith. It argues that Kirk's attorneys indicated that they wanted to pursue actions against Mercury and that they refused to settle their client's claims against Hamiti.

Allstate calls those statements a "deceptive scheme."

In the counterclaim, the company asks for attorney's fees, costs and the return of the settlement money it paid Kirk.

It also has a motion asking for leave to file its answer instanter.
Allstate asked Crowder to deny the default judgment March 18.

Chris Kolker represents Kirk in all three of the actions.

Michael Bedesky of Edwardsville represents Allstate.

Hamiti is represented by Mark Kurz.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla presides over the Hamiti suit. Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis presides over the Mercury action.

The Allstate case is Madison case number 10-L-010.

The underlying Hamiti suit is Madison case number 07-L-165.

The Mercury suit is case number 10-L-156.

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