Tom Maag

Daniel Stack

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack dropped Cassens & Sons auto dealership from a personal injury suit last week and scolded attorney Brian Wendler for naming the dealer as a defendant in his suits.

Wendler did not attend a hearing Stack held on the case Aug. 29, so Stack relayed the message through Wendler associate Thomas Maag.

"I don't know why he continues to file these against these people. It seems clear to me that these people don't belong in these lawsuits," Stack said.

"He is wasting his time and he is wasting the time of his people," he said. "He is not seeing the forest for the trees."

Wendler has filed many suits over alleged injuries of drivers who haul vehicles on trucks for Cassens Transport, a business of the Cassens family of Edwardsville.

According to information Wendler provided to a federal judge in a separate case, he represents workers on referrals from the Teamsters union.

Wendler's suits feature long lists of defendants. In the case before Stack, plaintiff Keith Yount named as defendants five family members, seven Cassens businesses, four other companies, a Cassens trust, an employee and "unknown defendants."

Defense attorney Stephen Szewczyk, of Reed, Armstrong, Gorman, Mudge & Morrissey in Edwardsville, moved in July for summary judgment in favor of Cassens & Sons.

He wrote that the dealer passively handled paperwork in an agreement between Cassens Transport and trailer maker Cottrell Inc., of Georgia.

At the hearing Szewczyk told Stack that Cassens & Sons did not make, sell, possess, deliver, or inspect any rigs. He said the dealer made no profit on the transaction.

Maag, who had showed up 20 minutes late for the hearing, apologized and said it was not on his calendar. He said he was not prepared to argue the motion.

Stack, however, was ready to rule. He said Cassens & Sons was entitled to summary judgment. He told Maag he could move for reconsideration.

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Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey

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