Trucker seeks reimbursement of costs after Crowder's mistrial declaration

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Sep 20, 2013

A trucker accusing local companies Cassens Corp. and Cassens & Sons as well as Bostrom Seating of causing injuries from a faulty rig seat is seeking reimbursement for what he says was wasted trial costs after Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder in July declared a mistrial in the eight-year-old case.

Alton attorney Charles Armbruster and co-counsel Brian Wendler of Edwardsville filed the case on behalf Mark Graham in 2005. Graham worked for Cassens Transport, a car hauling division of Cassens Corp., and third party defendant in the lawsuit that had previously been dismissed from the case.

According to the complaint, Graham claims that on Oct. 18, 2004, he suffered a low back injury when his rig’s seat and its mounting brackets allegedly failed. He claims he suffered lost wages, disfigurement, decrease in employability, pain and suffering, scarring and has incurred medical bills in an effort to treat his injuries – which includes ruptured lumbar disc at L4-5.

Armbruster said that Dr. Robert Margolis, a physician who treated Graham, said that it was “more probably true than not” that the Bostrom seat in his 1997 International truck led to disc herniation.

At trial, Bostrom’s attorney Mike Murphy of Belleville said that Graham never mentioned his broken seat or a problem with the rig’s seat during five “histories” taken following Graham’s injury report.

The defense also argued that Graham did not see Dr. Margolis until 2008, four years after his alleged injury.

On July 17, Crowder declared a mistrial and reset the case for trial on Jan. 13, 2014, at 9 a.m. The parties have also been ordered to mediate the case on Oct. 30 at 9 a.m.

Following the mistrial ruling, Graham filed a motion for reimbursement of "wasted" trial costs and expenses on July 29. He argued that by the time mistrial was declared, he had lost nearly $8,000 in trial preparation, hotel and mileage costs.

“He should not be required to bear the costs associated with the violations of the court’s order by Bostrom’s counsel,” Armbruster stated in the motion.

Crowder scheduled a motion hearing regarding the request for reimbursement of costs and expenses for Oct. 11 at 9 a.m.

Troy Bozarth of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville represents Cassens Corp.

Michael Bedesky of Reed Armstrong in Edwardsville represents Cassens & Sons.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 05-L-659

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