Defense verdict reached in St. Clair County auto accident trial

Christina Stueve Jun. 21, 2012, 9:15am


A St. Clair County jury sided with the defense in an auto accident trial that ended Thursday in Circuit Judge Robert LeChien's courtroom.

Plaintiff's attorney Michael Brunton had asked the jury to award his client Frank Magurany of O'Fallon more than $500,000 at the end of the four-day trial.

Magurany was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Rebecca Eichenseer on July 24, 2006, on Interstate 70 near the intersection of CST Walnut in St. Louis when the accident happened.

Eichenseer was traveling up an eastbound ramp on Interstate 70 when her vehicle was struck by Ross Smith's vehicle.

The lawsuit claims Smith owed a duty to other drivers to operate his car safely, and he breached his duty. Smith was alleged to have negligently proceeded at a speed greater than what was reasonable and he carelessly collided with Eichenseer's vehicle.

Magurany suffered injuries to his body, neck, back, head, hands and knees, which caused and will cause substantial expenditures of money for medical care, which caused past lost wages and future loss of earnings, Brunton said.

"I'm going to talk about the evidence," Brunton said at the beginning of closing statements Thursday. "I want to make sure you guys are going to follow the law."

"The whole issue is whether the auto accident caused his injury or made a preexisting condision worse," he said.

"The bottom line is if he had symptoms in the past, and the auto accident worsened his condition, then he is entitled to damages."

Magurany had a shaky leg and a crick in his neck before the accident,
Brunton told the jury.

Magurany doesn't go out anymore, Brunton said. He lies in bed all day and communicates with his friends on Facebook.

"Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know," Brunton said.

Defense attorney Michael Kokal told the jury that Magurany saw the doctor 37 days after the accident. The only testimony from the doctor was that all exams were normal, Kokal said.

"If you have a herniated disc, you're going to have abnormal findings," Kokal said.

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