Crowder to hear arguments by insurer in foot amputee's settlement

Amelia Flood Jul. 29, 2010, 8:37am


An insurance company sued by an Alton man who won more than $1 million last year in a personal injury trial is asking a Madison County judge to rule in its favor in a case stemming from a settlement with the injured party.

Defendant Allstate Insurance Company has asked for a judgment on the pleadings in the suit filed by plaintiff Steven Kirk as assignee for Enver Hamiti.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is set to hear the motion at 9 a.m. Aug. 6.

The suit against the insurer stems from its role in a personal injury accident suit Kirk filed against Hamiti.

Kirk contended Hamiti ran an Alton stop sign in 2006, hitting Kirk's motorcycle.

Kirk suffered a number of injuries including the loss of his right foot and lower leg.

Allstate settled with Kirk.

Kirk went on to win his suit against Hamiti last year, when a jury awarded him $1.375 million in damages.

In his suit against Allstate, Kirk claims it settled with him while leaving Hamiti vulnerable to a full judgment's costs.

Kirk has already settled another suit against an insurance company linked to the case, Mercury Insurance Company, this year. He filed the case against Mercury as assignee for Hamiti shortly after filing the Allstate suit.

In that case, he claimed Mercury bribed a learning disabled and mentally ill woman to lie at trial about witnessing the 2006 accident.

In the June 7 motion for a judgment on the pleadings, Allstate claims that Kirk's allegations are improper and in bad faith.

It claims Kirk never intended to settle with it in good faith.

It contends that Kirk's attempts to claim the company was guilty of not sufficiently investigating witnesses or properly conducting Hamiti's defense are intended to claim the insurer is guilty of legal malpractice, a claim not allowed under state law.

The motion had previously been set for hearing July 9.

It was continued due to defense counsel Michael Bedesky's vacation.
Chris Kolker represents Kirk.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-50.

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

A suit Kirk filed against Mercury Insurance Company related to the other two is case number 10-L-156.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla presided over the Hamiti case.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis presided over the Mercury suit.

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