Foot amputee, insurance company settle suit over witness's false testimony

Amelia Flood May 10, 2010, 10:26am


A suit stemming from the false testimony of a defense witness in an Alton foot amputation case has settled.

A copy of the settlement motion by Mercury Insurance Company is not yet available in the case file.

Mercury settled with plaintiff Steven Kirk May 6.

Details of the settlement are not yet available.

Kirk had sued the insurer over its alleged role in the false testimony of a mentally ill and learning disabled woman during the trial of his personal injury suit against Enver Hamiti last year.

During that trial, a defense witness testified that she saw Kirk riding his motorcycle erratically just before it was struck by Hamiti's truck at an intersection.

Hamiti allegedly ran a stop sign, striking Kirk's motorcycle and injuring Kirk.

Kirk lost his right foot and part of his lower right leg in the accident.

While Kirk admitted to drinking on the day of the accident, testimony by the woman's landlord and her handwritten rental application proved her testimony was false.

Kirk was awarded $1.375 million at the end of the November 2009 trial.

Following the judgment, Kirk's attorney, Chris Kolker, filed a move seeking sanctions against Mercury for its role in the false testimony, claiming the insurance company, "spoon fed" the witness facts of an incident she could not have seen.

That move asked for $500,000 in sanctions.

Kirk then sued Mercury earlier this year.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla, who presided over the trial, will hear arguments on the sanctions move June 25.

Mercury had also filed a declaratory judgment in the matter in Lake County, according to documents in the case file.

Kirk also has a suit pending against Allstate Insurance that he filed as asignee for Hamiti. That case remains pending.

Hamiti is represented by Mark Kurz.

Mercury is represented by Kevin Caplis.

Allstate is represented by Michael Bedesky.

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

The Mercury case is case number 10-L-156. It is assigned to Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

Callis is set to hear motions in the case May 14 at 9 a.m.

The separate Allstate case is case number 10-L-050. It is assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder.

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