Plaintiff awarded $2 million verdict against Bethalto Pizza, Imo's, files new suit

Kelly Holleran Sep. 28, 2012, 5:53am


A Madison County man who won a $2 million jury verdict last December from Bethalto Pizza and Imo's Franchising has filed another suit against the pizza delivery driver who he claims drove too fast and failed to yield the right-of-way, causing the collision.

Matthew Bruntjen claims he was riding in a 1995 GMC Safari traveling west on Erwin Plegge Boulevard at its intersection with Ashbrook Street in Madison County on Aug. 17, 2009, when defendant Kenneth Lyeria, who was delivering pizza, struck the Safari.

The jury, which reached its decision Dec. 13, 2011, in Madison County Circuit Andreas Matoesian's court, awarded $2,284,500 to Bruntjen in a week-long trial. The jury found Bethalto Pizza 70 percent responsible and Imo's Franchising 30 percent responsible for Bruntjen's injuries.

In the new suit, Bruntjen says he sustained numerous injuries, including severe head injuries, extensive fractures involving the skull base and a distended stomach, according to the complaint filed Sept. 12 in Madison County Circuit Court. He also suffered from a focally dilated loop of the colon, received a tracheotomy to assist with his breathing, incurred medical costs and lost wages, the suit states.

Lyerla negligently drove too fast, failed to maintain control of his vehicle, failed to stop behind another vehicle making a left-hand turn, allowed his vehicle to travel into the oncoming lane, allowed himself to become distracted while driving, failed to monitor the flow of traffic around him and concerned himself more with the timely delivery of pizza than with traffic safety, the complaint says.

In addition to Kenneth Lyerla, Bruntjen names Lisa Lyerla as a defendant, saying she negligently entrusted her vehicle to driver whom she should have known to be unable to safely operate a car and who would put timely delivery of food above safety.

In his two-count complaint, Bruntjen is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

Bruntjen will be represented by Charles W. Armbruster III and Michael T. Blotevogel of Armbruster, Dripps, Winterscheidt and Blotevogel, as they did in the case against Bethalto Pizza and Imo's.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-1472.

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