Madison County Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs on June 21 appointed Hurst Investigation Services to serve a summons and complaint to The Charles Crane Agency Company, a co-defendant in a lawsuit filed by owners of a motorcycle repair shop.
A total of 11 people claim their motorcycles were at Joe's Hawg Doc, a motorcycle repair shop in Pontoon Beach, when the building caught fire June 14, 2011. During the blaze, the motorcycles were destroyed.
The lawsuit claims the agency did not reimburse one of Joe's Hawg Doc's customers whose motorcycle was destroyed in the fire.
The plaintiffs, James Tadlock, Scott Arnett, Fred Beyrau, Joseph and Amber Goodwin, Chris Hurst, Darren Hrbek, Ullon and Denise Sechrest, Steve and Myrna Simpson, say they lost Harley motorcycles ranging in value from $6,000-$55,000 each.
The lawsuit also blames co-defendant Peace Free Will Baptist Church - located near the repair shop - for failing to provide adequate water lines to a fire department attempting to fight the blaze.
In the motion to appoint a special process server, attorney William E. Miller III of Alton wrote that due to the matter's urgency and the large volume of process serving conducted by the Madison County Sheriff's Department, the plaintiffs request a private process server be appointed.
According to the suit, the Peace Free Will Baptist Church had a fire hydrant that the Long Lake Volunteer Fire Department attempted to use, but the water line connected to the fire hydrant was the wrong size, which hindered water pressure.
The plaintiffs also name the Village of Pontoon Beach a defendant, saying the village dispatched a police officer to the scene of the fire to inspect an alarm that sounded at the motorcycle repair shop. The officer failed to get out of his vehicle or inspect the premises, according to the complaint.
"Joe's Hawg Doc had been struck by lightning and the resulting fire would have been easily ascertained had the officer exited his vehicle to survey the scene and situation," the suit states.
Had the fire been caught earlier, the plaintiffs' vehicles may not have been damaged, the complaint says.
The plaintiffs seek a judgment of more than $50,000.
Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge is assigned to the case.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-838.