Suit alleging toddler lost fingers when newspaper box fell removed to federal court

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 12, 2015


A case alleging a young child lost his third and fourth fingers while playing with a newspaper dispenser has been removed to federal court.

Defendant CBOCS West filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Feb. 27.

The defendant claims removal is proper because the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and diversity of citizenship exists. CBOCS is a citizen of Nevada, while the plaintiffs are citizens of Illinois.

Additionally, CBOCS argues that defendants Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Belleville News Democrat do not have to join the removal because they “are non-legal entities, and as such, are nominal parties, as there is no reasonable basis for predicating they will be held liable.

Plaintiffs Matthew Gibbs and Casey Gibbs filed the suit on Jan. 28 against CBOCS, Cracker Barrel and the Belleville News Democrat. They allege their three-year-old son Carson Gibbs opened the door of a newspaper dispenser on Nov. 16, 2013, when the newspaper box fell on top of the child.

“As a result of the BND newspaper box falling over onto Carson Gibbs, he was seriously injured in a manner that included, but was not limited to, the laceration and dismembering of the third and fourth fingers on his right hand,” the suit states.

Because of the incident, the boy allegedly suffered great pain, anguish, embarrassment, stress and scarring, the suit claims.

The plaintiffs accuse the newspaper and Cracker Barrel, which is where the incident occurred, for causing their son’s injuries. They claim the defendants negligently failed to attach or secure the newspaper box in a proper manner to the pavement, failed to properly maintain the premises to prevent a dangerous condition, failed to properly inspect the premises for dangerous conditions and failed to warn of a dangerous condition.

The Gibbs seek a judgment of more than $300,000, plus costs.

Steven Giacoletto of Giacoletto Law Firm in Collinsville represents the plaintiffs.

John P. Cunningham of Brown & James in Belleville represents CBOCS.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-104

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