Stack denies Norfolk Southern's second try to move suit to Macoupin County

Amelia Flood Sep. 9, 2010, 8:45am


A personal injury suit filed by a man struck by a train after the Staunton homecoming three years ago will stay in Madison County.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack on Thursday denied defendant Norfolk Southern Railway's second attempt to have the case transferred to neighboring Macoupin County.

The railroad had previously won a motion to transfer the case, but that move was rescinded by Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who once presided over the case.

Plaintiff John Whitt is suing the railroad and two of its employees, Travis Atchison and Paul Holden, for injuries he suffered after being hit by a train headed south into Madison County.

Whitt claims that while attending the Staunton homecoming, he was attacked and left unconscious on the company's railroad tracks in 2007.

He claims that the defendants could have stopped the train before hitting him.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and other relief.

The defense argued Thursday that Whitt is not a Madison County resident and that the incident and most witnesses involved in the case are in Macoupin County to the north.

Plaintiff's attorney Brian Kalb countered that the incident happened less than two miles from the Madison County border. He pointed to the fact that his client lived in Madison at the time of the accident.

Kalb provided Stack with a map placing the witnesses in the case to further show Madison County is the more appropriate place for the lawsuit because many witnesses are in St. Louis.

Stack agreed with Kalb.

"We all know it's easier to get here from St. Louis than up to Macoupin," Stack told defense counsel Andrew Corkery.

He denied the second transfer move but told Corkery that the defendants could still re-move to transfer the suit at a later date.

Atchison and Holden also have moves to dismiss the suit against them set for hearing later this month.

Brian Kalb and Joseph Dulle represent Whitt.

Andrew Corkery represents Norfolk Southern, Holden and Atchison.

Stack took over the suit last month along with the rest of Crowder's civil docket.

Crowder took over Stack's asbestos docket.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-668.

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