Plaintiff attorney seeks to withdraw as counsel in personal injury case; Defense objects

By Ann Maher | May 14, 2013


Plaintiff attorney Ed Unsell of East Alton has filed a motion to withdraw as counsel in a personal injury case against Daddie-O’s Nite Out and its bouncer William W. Walker over his client’s failure to communicate.

“The Plaintiff’s attorneys have made numerous attempts by telephone and mail to contact the Plaintiff,” states the May 10 motion. “That Plaintiff has failed and refused to contact his attorneys.”

But, defense attorney G. Robert Pritzker wants the court to deny Unsell’s request to withdraw because the plaintiff has allegedly fled the state and has not received proper service of notices or responded to discovery requests.

In the alternative, Pritzker wants the case dismissed for want of prosecution.

Plaintiff Bobby Barlow claims that he was punched in the face by Walker while trying to enter the Wood River bar on Jan. 8, 2012.

The suit, filed in January, also names the bar’s owners and liquor licensees, the Richard L. Campbell Trust, Richard L. Campbell and Brian Campbell, as defendants. Barlow says they improperly managed the premises by allowing a person with a violent history to work as a bouncer.

Pritzker wrote in his May 10 motion that it is necessary for Unsell to be constrained from withdrawal so he can receive notices, pleadings and orders, as well as to be “subject, jointly and severally, with the Plaintiff for the purposes of the sanctions sought…”

“…Plaintiff has absconded outside the state while under a felony arrest warrant of this Court and is unlikely to return to this state or provide accurate information as to his whereabouts…,” Pritzker wrote.

“The Plaintiff, throughout the history of this matter, has at all times willfully and contumaciously failed to prosecute this matter in a timely and expeditious manner, and for any number of reasons, can be expected to fail to prosecute this matter in  future.”

Pritzker also states that Walker has incurred “significant” fees and costs defending himself in the case brought in January by Barlow.

Daddie-O’s responded to the suit saying Walker used reasonable force to protect himself and other patrons of the bar from threat of physical harm posed by Barlow, and thus was legally justified in making contact with plaintiff.

According to Walker’s response, he claims he acted within the lawful course and scope of his duties as a doorman. He inflicted bodily harm on the plaintiff, while using “reasonable and appropriate force” on the plaintiff when he believed force was needed “to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or other patrons of the establishment.”

“The plaintiff was the aggressor in the violent altercation between the plaintiff and the defendant and is therefore barred from any recovery in this matter,” Walker’s response states.

The case has been re-assigned to Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth following the departure of Judge Ann Callis.

John P. Cunningham and Daniel G. Hasenstab of Brown & James in Belleville represent Daddie-O’s Nite Out, Richard L. Campbell Trust and Brian Campbell.

Madison County case number 13-L-22.

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