Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Jan. 6, 2016, 9:10am


St. Clair County juries awarded a total of roughly $286,647 in 15 civil cases that went to verdict in 2015.

Of those 15 cases, there were five defense verdicts and 10 verdicts in favor of plaintiffs.

Only five of those cases involved civil cases in the law division, where the plaintiff sought more than $50,000 for damages. The remaining cases were in the arbitration division or the LM division, which includes cases where the plaintiff sought $50,000 or less in damages.

The  2015 verdict totals do not include cases where a trial may have started, but ended in a settlement.

On March 16, a jury ruled in favor of defendants Dr. Donald Weimer and Belleville Orthopedic Surgeons and against plaintiff Ken Rodenberg in Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson’s courtroom (05-L-263).

Rodenberg was represented by Christopher Petri of Byron, Carlson, Petri & Kalb in Edwardsville.

Rodenberg, as special administrator of the estate of Edna Rodenberg, filed the lawsuit on April 27, 2005. He claims the decedent’s left leg had to be amputated as a result of the defendants’ alleged negligence and carelessness in failing to diagnose an infection.

The plaintiff alleged Weimer failed to timely aspirate the decedent’s left ankle and to perform gram stain, culture, blood or synovial fluid analysis, failed to elicit an acceptable history from the decedent concerning her symptoms and risk factors and failed to diagnose and treat the decedent’s ankle for infection.

Weimer denied that he did any of the things claimed by the plaintiff, denied that he was professionally negligent and denied that his actions or inactions led to the amputation of Edna Rodenberg’s left leg.

Belleville Orthopedic Surgeons was named in the suit as the principal of Weimer.

The defendants were represented by Jeffrey Glass and Untress Quinn of Hinshaw & Culbertson in Belleville.

On June 9, a jury ruled in favor of defendant Paul Reiniger and against plaintiff Katherine Nevener in Associate Judge Randall Kelley’s courtroom following the five day trial (14-L-6).

Nevener was represented by Ted Harvey and Rachel Brown of Freeark, Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville.

Nevener filed the lawsuit on Jan. 7, 2014. She claimed that on July 29, 2013, she was attempting to walk down carpeted stairs from the second floor to the first floor of a duplex she was renting from the defendant when she allegedly fell.

The plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent when he failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition and failed to make repairs to the carpeting.

Reiniger denied that he was negligent and argued that the plaintiff contributed to her own alleged injuries when she failed to keep a proper lookout while using the stairs, descended the stairs at a rate of speed that was not proper or safe and failed to exercise proper caution while using the stairs when she knew that the carpet on the stairs was allegedly loose or defective.

Reiniger was represented by John P. Cunningham of Brown & James in Belleville.

On Aug. 27, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Deborah Kohler and against defendant Kenneth Kohler in Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot’s courtroom. They jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $100,000: $50,000 for past disability and $50,000 for past pain and suffering (13-L-250).

Defendant Sonnenberg Paving and Landscaping Materials Company was not found to be liable.

Deborah Kohler was represented by attorney Gregory Shevlin of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin in Belleville.

She filed her lawsuit on May 10, 2013. She claimed she was injured in a collision while riding as a passenger in the vehicle being driven by Kenneth Kohler. The defendant was hauling a load of material purchased from Sonnenberg.

Deborah Kohler claimed Sonneberg negligently loaded materials on the trailer to make it unsafe and unstable and overloaded the trailer

She also claimed Kenneth failed to keep the vehicle under proper control, drove at a speed greater than reasonable and proper in light of the circumstances, failed to reduce speed to avoid an accident and continued to drive the vehicle when he knew or should have known that such presented a danger to others

The defendants both denied that they did any of the things claimed by the plaintiff and denied that they were negligent. They also alleged the plaintiff was not injured to the extent claimed

The two defendants also filed counterclaims against each other.

The defendants were represented by Dave Laurent of The Laurent Law Office in Edwardsville and Mike Hobin of Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey in Edwardsville.

On Sept. 29, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Cecil Rockett and against defendant Deborah McConnell in Associate Judge Chris Kolker’s courtroom following a two-day trial. After deliberating for about an hour, the jury awarded the plaintiff $43,720: $18,720 for medical care, $20,000 for pain and suffering and $5,000 for loss of a normal life (13-L-261).

Rockett was represented by attorney Matthew Young of Kuehn, Beasley & Young in Belleville.

He filed his complaint on May 20, 2013. He argued that on June 13, 2011, he was traveling westbound on Highway 50 in O’Fallon while McConnell was traveling directly behind him. Rocket claimed he attempted to get into the middle turn lane to turn left when the defendant struck the rear of his vehicle.

The plaintiff said the defendant failed to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failed to use evasive maneuvers to avoid an accident

The defendant denied the extent of the injuries claimed. She also denied she was negligent and said the plaintiff contributed to the collision

The court had already found that the defendant was negligent in causing the accident. The jury was to decide how much damages, if any, to award the plaintiff.

McConnell was represented by attorney Joseph Callahan.

On Nov. 4, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Robert Gryzmala and against defendant Andrea Abbott in Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf’s courtroom. The jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $70,318: $5,000 for loss of a normal life, $10,000 for pain and suffering, $5,000 for future pain and suffering, $45,318 for medical expenses and $5,000 for future medical expenses (13-L-568).

Gryzmala was represented by attorney William Holland of Goldblatt & Singer in St. Louis and Jon Rosenstengel of Bonifeld & Rosenstengel in Belleville.

He filed his lawsuit on Nov. 6, 2013. Gryzmala alleges the defendant caused a collision on Aug. 17, 2012, while driving on Lebanon Avenue near the intersection of Eagles Landing Drive in St. Clair County.

Abbott admitted she was negligent in causing the accident but denied that the plaintiff was injured to the extent claimed.

The jury was asked to find the appropriate amount of money, if any, to award the plaintiff.

The defendant was represented by David Laurent of Glen Carbon.

There was one civil case on the LM docket that went to trial on June 24 in Rudolf’s courtroom (15-LM-700). The jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Green Door Apartments LLC and against defendant Michael Oliver, awarding the plaintiff $1,000.

Green Door Apartments argued through Paul Evans of O’Fallon that the defendant violated terms of his lease by failing to pay rent. The defendant appeared pro se.

The remaining jury trials took place in Rudolf’s courtroom. The cases were set for arbitration, but the parties chose to reject the arbitration awards and take the cases to jury trial instead.

  • 13-AR-1246: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Gregory Hayden and against defendant Diana Owens on Feb. 2 in a lawsuit involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $15,350. The arbitration award Hayden rejected was for $30,000, plus costs of the suit.

  • 13-AR-1346: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Ronald Clark and against defendant Renee Rhodes on July 6 in a lawsuit involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $13,900. The arbitration award Clark rejected was for $31,500, plus costs of the suit.

  • 14-AR-345: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Todd Lawson and against defendant Allstate on Aug. 13 in a lawsuit involving an alleged breach of contract in an insurance dispute. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $13,000. The arbitration award Lawson rejected was for a total of $33,600, plus costs of the action.

  • 14-AR-398: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiffs Lisa Seals, Joshua Ratliff and David Seals and against defendant Andrea Hopson on March 23 in a lawsuit involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiffs $500 each, or a total of $1,500. The arbitration award the plaintiffs rejected was for a total of $21,643. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a new trial on damages on April 22, but Rudolf denied the request on July 9.

  • 14-AR-843: A jury ruled in favor of defendant Richard Wakefield and against plaintiff Tim Glass on Aug. 24 in a lawsuit involving a car accident. The arbitration award Glass rejected was for $5,500, plus costs of the suit.

  • 14-AR-1040: A jury ruled in favor of defendant Laurie Caringer and against plaintiff Lakiesha Thomas on May 18 in a lawsuit involving a car accident. The arbitration award Thomas rejected was for a total of $15,099, plus costs of the suit.

  • 14-AR-1189: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Victoria Rodgers and against defendant Dianne Gill on Dec. 16 in a case involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $21,387. The arbitration award Gill rejected was for $27,500, plus costs of the suit.

  • 14-AR-1243: A jury ruled in favor of defendant Aaron Bronsman and against Donald Sickmier on Dec. 15 in a case involving a car accident. The arbitration award Sickmier rejected was for $16,000, plus costs of the suit.

  • 14-AR-1097: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff William Wilson and against defendant Marvin Jones on Oct. 12 in a case involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $6,474. The arbitration award Wilson rejected was for $14,000, plus costs of the suit.

Organizations in this Story

Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey
115 N Buchanan St
Edwardsville, IL 62025-1771

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