Plaintiff's attorney files cases day before starting job as judge

By Ann Knef | Mar 6, 2007

The day before plaintiff's attorney Michael N. Cook was to be sworn into office as an associate judge in St. Clair County, he filed personal injury and wrongful death suits in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

In one lawsuit filed March 1, plaintiff Brian T. Hubble claims Bi-State Development Agency bus driver Helen L. Wilson crashed into him at the intersection of "F" Street and Highway 159 in Belleville after running a red light.

Seeking in excess of $100,000 from Wilson and Bi-State, Hubble claims he sustained severe and permanent injuries to his head, neck, back and entire body.

He claims he sustained great pain and mental anguish and has lost and will continue to lose large sums of money by his inability to work.

According to the complaint, the incident occurred Sept. 13, 2005, as Hubble was westbound on F Street. Wilson, southbound on 159, allegedly failed to keep a proper lookout and drove at a speed that was not reasonable and proper in light of the conditions and circumstances of the roadway.

Cook, a Democrat from Belleville, was elected associate judge by the circuit judges in the 20th Judicial Circuit.

The other suit was filed by plaintiff Darrold McKinney, administrator of the estate of William McKinney.

William McKinney was a passenger in an Addus Healthcare Inc. bus driven by David Ripperda.

McKinney was killed Aug. 1, 2005, when Ripperda – driving northbound on Interstate 55 in St. Louis – looked to his left for a potential lane change and failed to see that traffic had stopped in front of him causing his vehicle to strike an 18-wheeler stopped in front of him.

The estate, which seeks in excess of $100,000 in damages, names Addus Healthcare and Ripperda as defendants.

"That as a direct and proximate result of the negligent acts or omissions on the part of defendants, plaintiff's decedent was caused to die, causing his next of kin to lose the value of his society, companionship, support, love and affection," the complaint states.

As a new associate, Judge Cook is not likely to initially be assigned to major civil cases.

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