Jury trial reset in case involving school bus driver brawl

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Sep 11, 2013

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge has denied defendant First Student’s motion to quash in a case involving a brawl between two of its school bus drivers.

A jury trial was originally scheduled for Sept. 9 in the case, but was stricken and reset for a hearing on the issue of punitive damages.

At the punitive damages hearing on Sept. 10, Mudge rescheduled trial for Oct. 7 at 9 a.m. A pre-trial hearing will take place on Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.

Plaintiff Gary Spiller is claiming Ronald Cochran attacked him on Aug. 8, 2011. Both worked as school bus drivers for First Student.

According to the complaint, Cochran attacked Spiller after Spiller turned down the advances of a female employee.

“Prior to the battery, Ronald Cochran and another female employed by First Student had an intimate relationship and Cochran had become infatuated with the female employee,” the suit states. “In order to appease and placate his paramour, Cochran determined to punish plaintiff Spiller by battering him forcefully.”

The deposition of Roberta Everhart was taken on Sept. 5 at HeplerBroom in Edwardsville.

The plaintiff’s counsel was ordered to use their best efforts to facilitate her discovery deposition and provide central information.

Spiller claims First Student negligently failed to warn him of a threat to his safety, failed to notify his union of the threat, failed to further investigate a threat Cochran made and failed to warn Cochran that he would be terminated if he engaged in an act of violence.

C. Zachary Vaugn in Chicago represents Cochran.

Thomas J. Magee of HeplerBroom in St. Louis represents First Student.

Roy C. Dripps of Armbruster, Dripps, Winterscheidt and Blotevogel in Alton represents Spiller.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 12-L-1223

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