Regal Beagle plaintiff seeks costs, wants judge to decide verdict set-off

Amelia Flood Oct. 6, 2010, 9:42am

The plaintiff who walked away with $35,000 in a dram shop suit against Roper's Regal Beagle tavern in Godfrey is now asking a judge to determine what set-off is needed in the case and to approve just over $2,500 in court costs.

James Ceja of Ottawa, Ill. sued the bar for violating the state's dram shop laws when it served alcohol to a man who got into a bar fight with the plaintiff two years ago.

That man, Michael Whittman, was also a defendant in the suit but settled with Ceja in April for $10,000.

Ceja is now asking Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla to enter a verdict of $32,000, subtracting $3,000 in set-off dollars.

Hylla is set to hear motions in the case Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Ceja's case against the Regal Beagle was tried in September.

Whittman testified he had been drinking at the Godfrey bar before the two men got in a fight in its parking lot.

Ceja's left eye socket was shattered by the end of the fight.

The bar argued that Ceja's "obnoxious" behavior started the fight and that conflicts between him and local trade union members were factors in it.

The jury's verdict in Ceja's favor included $24,000 in medical bills, $9,000 in lost wages and other relief.

The April settlement with Whittman included $6,000 in the loss of a normal life and $1,000 a piece for pain, disfigurement, medical bills and other relief.

The plaintiff's costs motion filed Sept. 29 asks for $2,548.40 including a deposition fee of $1,000 and a $30 witness fee for one of the men who witnessed the brawl.

Michael Glisson represents Ceja.

Dominique Seymoure represented the bar.

The Regal Beagle was also set to take its place at the defense table in another dram shop suit brought by plaintiff Randy Hosford next week.

Hosford is also suing Fast Eddie's Bon Air bar in that case.

That trial has been continued.

The Ceja case is Madison case number 08-L- 1159.

The Hosford case is Madison case number 09-L-450 and is assigned to Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

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