Another suit over fire poker incident filed in St. Clair County

Andrea Dearden Nov. 23, 2011, 3:31am

A St. Clair County man says he was hit in the head with a metal fire poker while attending a party in Caseyville.

Kevin Smith filed a lawsuit Nov. 10 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Chad A. Crank and Lilian McCormick.

According to the complaint, Smith was at a party in October 2010 at a Caseyville Road home owned by McCormick. Smith says, at some point in the evening, he ended up in a heated discussion with one of Crank's friends. The debate was allegedly over a game of horseshoes. Crank, who Smith says was drunk, allegedly picked up a fire poker and hit Smith several times in the head.

Smith accuses Crank of assault and battery. He also accuses the homeowner, McCormick, of negligence. Smith is asking for more than $150,000 in damages for medical expenses, loss of income and court fees.

Attorneys Michael Gras and Lloyd M. Cueto, of Belleville, are representing Smith. They ask for a jury trial.

Another lawsuit over the same incident was filed last month in St. Clair County. In that suit, James McDaniel names Crank, as well as Kevin W. McCormick and Lillian McCormick.

According to McDaniel's complaint, he and Crank were both guests of Kevin McCormick at a party he was having at his Caseyville Road home in October 2010. McDaniel says, during the gathering, a fight broke out between Crank and another guest. Crank allegedly began swinging a fire poker during the altercation. McDaniel alleges Crank swung the poker and accidentally hit him, breaking bones in his arm.

McDaniel accuses Crank of battery and negligence. He also accuses Kevin McCormick, the tenant, and Lillian McCormick, the owner of the house, of negligence. McDaniel asks for more than $200,000 in damages for medical expenses, lost wages and court costs.

Attorney Timothy A. Gutknecht of Columbia is representing McDaniel.

McDaniel's suit is St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-569

Smith's suit is St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-637

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