Harrison to hear plaintiff's plea for third trial in 1998 personal injury case

Amelia Flood Aug. 17, 2010, 10:57am



Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison II is set to hear a plea by the plaintiff in a 12 year-old personal injury case seeking to take his case to jury for a third time.

Plaintiff Cecil Dial Jr. cites repeated personal attacks on his attorneys, Roy Dripps and Charles Armbruster, by the defense as well as the improper testimony of an expert witness.

Dial Jr.'s suit against defendant Bradley Joiner has already gone through two trials in Madison County courtrooms.

Each time, juries have found for Joiner.

The most recent trial ended in May.

Dial Jr. is suing Joiner for more than $1 million in damages for severe head and other injuries he claims to have suffered when Joiner's SUV hit the then-12 year-old Dial Jr. as he crossed a street toward an Edwardsville middle school in 1997.

Joiner contends that Dial Jr. walked out in front of his car before he had any time to stop and that he did not see the boy.

The hearing on the plaintiff's move for a new trial will be Aug. 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Previous hearings have been moved, most recently due to attorney scheduling conflicts.

The suit's first trial took place in 2004.

That jury was sequestered and there was a move for a mistrial before the jury returned a verdict for Joiner.

Then-Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn ordered a new trial.

The defendant appealed the decision unsuccessfully and the case returned to Edwardsville.

During the suit's trial earlier this year, defense attorney Steven Mudge accused the plaintiff's table of using "smoke and mirrors" to distract the jury and used heated language at times describing his opponents' tactics.

During closing arguments, Armbruster dismissed Mudge's attacks.

The plaintiff's motion for a new trial also takes issue with the testimony of a defense expert, Nathan Shigemura and its alleged impact on jurors.

The Edwardsville school district and Dial Jr.'s mother, Constance Dial, were also parties to the suit at one time. They had been dropped from the case prior to its second trial.

Dripps and Armbruster represent Dial Jr.

Joiner is represented by Mudge.

The case is Madison case number 1998-L-899.

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