Hylla sets CMC in man's claim in car accident case against Wells Fargo

Christina Stueve May 10, 2012, 12:35pm


Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla on May 4 set a case management conference for May 30 in a 2009 case about a man's claim that a Wells Fargo employee struck him after failing to remain stopped at a traffic control device.

Hylla wrote he would set a trial date on May 30.

Noel S. Wangerin filed a lawsuit Nov. 16 in Madison County Circuit Court against Wells Fargo Investments and two of its employees - Amy Strasen and Joseph Armistead.

Wangerin claims he drove south on Route 4 in Madison County on Aug. 18, 2009, when he collided with an eastbound vehicle being driven by Strasen.

At the time of the accident, Armistead owned the vehicle and was riding in the right front seat.

"That Defendant Armistead was an employee of the defendant, and was in the scope of his employement, when he asked or allowed Defendant Strasen to substitute for him as driver of his car on the remainder of his work related trip," the lawsuit stated.

"The vehicle owner Armistead, who occupied the right front seat, and who had requested that Strasen operate his vehicle so that he would be free and able to perform certain tasks for his employer on his employer's laptop computer. As principal of Agent Strasen, Defendant Armistead is also responsible for the accident and Plaintiff's damages," the lawsuit stated.

Armistead was an A.G. Edwards employee on his trip to and from St. Louis.

Armistead's direction that Strasen operate his vehicle from Collinsville to the accident site was reasonable.

"It occurred during the performance of his employment and in furtherance of his employer's business and created an agency relationship between Strasen and his employer, this causing Defendant A.G. Edwards to be responsible for said accident and Plaintiff's damages," according to the lawsuit.

Everen was the parent company of A.G. Edwards and is responsible for its liabilities, according to the lawsuit. Wachovia became a successor to A.G. Edwards and incorporated its assets and liabilities.

"That Wells Fargo and Company is the parent company and secured through merger the assets and liabilities of the various Wachovia Corporations" according to the lawsuit.

Judge Hylla wrote in his May 4 order that if Armistead needed to use his computer during the drive from St. Louis to Highland, no evidence shows he could not have pulled over.

The idea that Armistead could not drive due to his requirement to be on call is flawed. No evidence shows Armistead needed someone to drive him, Hylla wrote.

Discovery deposition testimony was presented by both parties regarding what the driver and passenger knew, but the Court has not been provided with copies of the parties' depositions. The record is too sparse to make findings as to the facts and what was known, said and done by the parties, according to Hylla.

Judge Hylla wrote the court cannot make a ruling on Count 2 which states the defendant, Amy Strasen, was acting for an on behalf of Defendant Joseph Armistead and Wells Fargo Investments.

Because of the collision, Wangerin experienced pain, suffering, emotional distress and disabilities and incurred lost earnings and medical expenses, the suit states.

Wangerin blames the defendants for failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to yield the right-of-way and failing to stop or to remain stopped at a traffic signal.

Wangerin seeks a judgment exceeding $50,000.

James E. Gormin of Lucco, Brown, Threlkeld and Dawson in Edwardsville and Katherine Smith of The Law Office of Katherine M. Smith in Alton will be representing him.

Laura Gerdes Long, Kevin E. Meyer, and Kara D. Helmuth of St. Louis represent the defense.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1233

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Wells Fargo
402 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

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