Jurors hear plaintiff's case in Granite City day care center suit

By Amelia Flood | Oct 6, 2009

With opening statements conducted first thing in the morning, the jury in a case involving an employee of a Granite City day care center heard from the plaintiff's table on Tuesday.

Plaintiff Sossity Laleman, who is suing day care owner Jane Tolhurst and employee John Welle for the emotional distress her son, Jordan, allegedly suffered in 2006 when Welle stomped on his head twice while yelling at him, testified.

The employee of the Carrousel Day Care Center who called the police after witnessing the incident also testified as did Tolhurst, Welle and Jordan Laleman's father, Joel Laleman.

The trial adjourned just before 3 p.m. and will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday with the defense's case.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla is presiding.

At issue in the suit is whether John Welle stomped on then four year-old Jordan Laleman's head twice during an incident in July 2006.

The Lalemans are seeking at least $50,000 in damages. They claim Tolhurst, who testified that she has known Welle since college, was negligent in hiring him due to a history of incidents at other day care centers.

Tolhurst admitted that there had been complaints about Welle before the incident with Jordan Laleman but disputed how many.

Sossity Laleman and her husband testified about their son's behaviors, pain reactions, and how his Asperger's Syndrome impacts them. Sossity Laleman testified that after the alleged stomping incident, her son's problems increased.

Levy represents the plaintiff.

David Friess of Belleville represents Welle and Tolhurst.

The trial began Monday with jury selection.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-147.

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