Jury orders fiber optics company to pay more than $100,000

By Christina Stueve | Feb 23, 2012


A Madison County jury awarded a New Berlin man $112,875 on Thursday, following a three-day trial over a business dispute between two long-time acquaintances.

Jurors spent about 90 minutes deliberating in a case presided over by Circuit Judge Dave Hylla.

The plaintiff, J2 Management owner James Mihalech, had sued American Fiber Comm LLC and the company's owner, Thomas M. Allen, alleging AFC did not fulfill its part of a contract related to a sales commission.

According to the complaint, J2 Mgmt had an agreement with American Fiber in which J2 would be given a 10 percent commission on work completed by American Fiber within two years of contract.

American Fiber Comm sold a duct partially enclosed in a steel pipe for $1.075 million in 2010. The duct runs from Walnut Street in St. Louis underneath the Mississippi River over to Locust Street in East St. Louis.

After the verdict was announced, Hylla granted defense attorney Christopher Threlkeld's request that the jury be polled, and each juror said "yes."

That was after Hylla had asked jurors to return to the deliberation room to review their calculations.

"I have a question regarding your calculation of interest," Hylla said. "I think you should re-check it. I saw what you did.

"Do you need a calculator?"

Godfrey attorney Phil Hamilton represented Mihalich and his company.

During opening statements Tuesday, Hamilton said, "They (AFC) owed $140,000 plus interest, and they just don't want to pay. They claim Jim deceived AFC."

"Tom fired Jim in 2009," Hamilton said. "Jim thought he should be paid on all these different projects, because he had contracts."

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-53

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