Stack growls at personal injury attorney for 'game playing'

By Steve Korris | Oct 9, 2008

Brian Wendler of Edwardsville, personal injury attorney to Teamster union truckers, tested Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack's patience at a hearing last month.

"I am tired of this gamesmanship and game playing," Stack told Wendler on Sept. 24.

"You are going to be damned lucky I'm not having a sanction hearing," Stack said.

Wendler called the hearing for the purpose of repeating a May 14 hearing that no court reporter transcribed, but Stack trusted his own memory.

"I remember these conversations," he said as soon as Wendler raised the subject.

"I remember what was represented to the court at the time," Stack said.

William Knapp of Edwardsville, in an unusual role as friend of the court, said Wendler chose not to have a record at the hearing.

"Had he done so, we would know exactly what everybody said," Knapp told Stack.

Wendler and associate Thomas Maag have represented a long line of Teamsters claiming they suffered injuries while hauling for Cassens Transport of Edwardsville.

In the case before Stack, trucker Mark Graham sued Cassens Transport, Bostrom Seating Inc. and International Truck and Engine Corp.

After the May hearing, Wendler sent Cassens Transport a request to admit that attorneys said certain things.

Cassens Transport objected, so Wendler filed a motion to compel a response.

Stack granted a hearing but it didn't go well.

"I understand why you thought of this but I don't know if that's a correct use of the request to admit," Stack told Wendler.

"It's a representation they made to the court," Wendler said.

"Now they want to claim it's irrelevant when we ask them to admit they made the representation," he said.

As Stack read the statements on the request, each with a number, Wendler said, "It's a simple request to admit facts and the facts
are -"

Stack said, "They don't need to admit one, because I remember it."

He said, "Number two, I don't know."

He said, "Number three, I remember it."

He said, "Number four, that would be something that I wouldn't know."

He said, "Number five, I remember."

He said, "I wouldn't know about number six."

Benjamin Powell, who represented Cassens Transport at the May hearing, kept silent while Knapp responded to Wendler.

"The request itself is improper because Mr. Wendler knows himself that request number one is not true," Knapp said.

He said the second request was submitted in bad faith.

He said number five was a half truth.

He asked how Cassens Transport, which wasn't at the May hearing,
would admit or deny what happened.

He said, "Now am I a witness in this case? Is my deposition going
to be taken?"

Wendler said, "At the May 14th hearing the attorney of record for
Cassens Transport was Mr. Powell. These are statements Mr. Powell made."

He said, "Let's get the attorney and the client to answer rather than hearing from Mr. Knapp, the friend of the court, who is not an attorney of record for Cassens Transport in this case and nor is he
under oath."

Reminding Stack that he stopped at number six, he said there were two more.

Stack said, "The motion to compel is denied."

He told Wendler to request discovery and then ask for a motion to compel.

"I don't want any more of this – this stuff," Stack said.

"We don't do requests to admit on something that an attorney says in open court," he said. "That's all."

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