Ann Maher Jul. 25, 2016, 3:58pm


Bi-State Development Agency denies negligence in a lawsuit brought by a passenger who claims injuries when an unsecured wheelchair rolled into her when the Metro bus she was riding in was involved in an accident.

Represented by Matthew Champlin of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville, Bi-State says in its affirmative defense that the alleged injuries suffered by Nicole Johnson-Barnett were caused in whole or in part by her.

"Plaintiff's recovery should therefore be reduced in whole or in part," Champlin wrote.

In her suit filed in April, Johnson-Barnett alleges Bi-State was negligent by failing to keep a proper lookout, operating the bus in such a manner as to cause it to stop suddenly and allow a wheelchair to roll into her, driving at an excessive rate of speed, and failing to properly secure a wheelchair.

The plaintiff seeks judgment against the defendant in excess of $50,000 plus court costs. She is represented by Thomas C. Rich, Kristina D. Cooksey and Michelle M. Rich of Thomas C. Rich PC in Fairview Heights.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Randall Kelley presides.

A case management order signed July 20 set a trial date of Sept. 18, 2017.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-193

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