Defendants file counterclaim in Imo's pizza delivery accident

Amelia Flood Jan. 7, 2011, 1:00am


Three defendants in a Madison County suit involving a pizza delivery man who was running late have filed a counterclaim for contribution against some of their fellow defendants.

Defendants Kenneth and Lisa Lyerla and Leonard Cummings Jr. filed the claim Dec. 30.

Plaintiff Matthew Bruntjen is suing the Lyerlas, Cummings Jr., Jason Yelton, Jeremiah Greene, and Metro East Distributing Inc. for injuries suffered in a 2009 accident near Bethalto.

Bruntjen also is suing Kenneth Lyerla's employer, Imo's Franchising Inc. and Bethalto Pizza LLC.

Bruntjen claims that Kenneth Lyerla was working as a pizza delivery man for Bethalto Pizza, an Imo's Franchise, on Aug. 17. 2009.

On that night, the plaintiff claims Kenneth Lyerla was "more concerned with the timely delivery of a pizza than traffic safety," when he allegedly did not stop while making a left into oncoming traffic.

The plaintiff claims Kenneth Lyerla was speeding, was distracted by his cell phone and unable to control the car.

The turn led to the accident in which Bruntjen was injured. He is suing Lisa Lyerla and Yelton as the owners of the cars involved in the accident.

The plaintiff is suing Cummings Jr. for insuring Lisa Lyerla's car and allowing her son to drive it without first instructing him in its safe handling.

Greene was driving the van that was the other car involved in the accident.

Bruntjen was a passenger in the van owned by Yelton.

Metro East Distributing employed Yelton and Greene.

The plaintiff claims Greene was also speeding and distracted at the time of the accident.

The two pizza companies are named in the case as Kenneth Lyerla's employers and for allegedly stressing on-time pizza delivery over safe driving.

Several counterclaims are already pending amongst the defendants.

The most recent counterclaims filed by the Lyerlas and Cummings Jr. alleges that Yelton's alleged negligence in allowing Greene to drive his van led to the plaintiff's injuries.

They ask that Yelton, Greene and Metro East Distributing be held to have a proportionate share of any fault attributed to Yelton and that any judgment against them be reduced accordingly.

The case is set for case management in March.

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian presides.

Bruntjen is represented by Charles Armbruster.

Stephen Mudge represents the Lyerlas and Cummings Jr.

James Craney and others represent the pizza company defendants.

John Wendler represents Yelton and Metro East Distributing.

Greene is represented by Beth Boggs.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-577.

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