Chapman set to oversee case management in couple's suit over car hauler's injuries

Amelia Flood Dec. 13, 2010, 8:00am


A suit seeking nearly 20 counts worth of damages over a man's injuries allegedly caused by faulty car hauling rigs is set for case management Friday.

The case management conference is set for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 17 before Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman.

The original complaint was filed in June 2009.

In the first amended complaint in the case, plaintiff John Street claims he was working as a car hauler for Jack Cooper Transport Co. on Oct. 26, 2007 when he was injured while operating a chain and ratchet tie down system that broke causing a sudden release.

The suit claims that the Cottrell rig lacked reasonably safe vehicle securement systems, was supplied with chains too weak to hold the load, did not have sufficient warnings and was equipped with systems unreasonably prone to sudden releases.

Street alleges Roger Owens was the Jack Cooper agent who authorized the refurbishment of the trailer that caused the plaintiff's injuries.

Street claims Cottrell made and sold an unsafe car hauling rig.

He also claims to have been injured in February 2008 on another Cottrell rig when a right skid hung up causing him to fall and hurt himself.

He claims Cottrell was aware of defects in its products at the time of his injuries.

Street also is suing Auto Handling Corp. for allegedly failing to properly inspect his rig for defects at the time of the October 2007 injury and the February 2008 injury.

The suit claims that Jackie Street, the plaintiff's wife, lost her husband's company and support due to his injuries.

The 18 count suit seeks $50,000 in compensatory damages per count, at least $50,000 in punitive damages for several counts and costs.

The suit was removed to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in November 2009 due to differing state residencies of several of the defendants.

The suit was later remanded to Madison County.

There was a move in March of this year to disqualify Cottrell attorneys Daniel Carpenter and Amy Lorenz-Moser from the suit.

Brian Wendler, one of the attorneys representing the Streets, argued in the March 11 motion that when the case began, Carpenter and Lorenz-Moser had worked for the Bryan Cave law firm.

Later, they joined the Armstrong Teasdale firm.

Attorneys from the Armstrong firm were also litigating the suit, according to the motion.

Wendler argued that there was an unavoidable conflict of interest for Carpenter and Lorenz-Moser.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder who oversaw the case at that point, denied the motion in April, keeping the two attorneys in the case.

The suit went to Chapman earlier this year.

The case has already cycled through a number of Madison County judges including Circuit Judges David Hylla, Barbara Crowder, Dennis Ruth and Andreas Matoesian.

Peter Maag and Wendler represent the Streets.

David Nester represents an intervener in the case, American-Zurich Insurance.

William Logan represents Owens and Auto Handling Corp.

Carpenter represents Cottrell.

Christopher Byron is listed as representing Armstrong Teasdale.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-621.

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Organizations in this Story

Bryan Cave
1 Metropolitan Square
St. Louis, MO 63102

Armstrong Teasdale
411 Saint Louis Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025

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