Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Widower sues car manufacturer in wrongful death suit

By Carol Ostrow | Sep 23, 2015

Chrysler town country cutaway interior

A widower is suing an automotive manufacturer over alleged defective seat bolts, which he claims gave out when his wife was rear-ended, allegedly causing her death.

Larry Schmeder, as special administrator of the estate of Cheryl Schmeder, filed a lawsuit on Aug. 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against FAC US LLC and Gary Mathenia, alleging wrongful death.

According to the complaint, the defendant was an authorized manufacturer and seller of motor vehicles including a 1997 Chrysler Town & Country minivan purchased by the plaintiff on or about March 28, 1997, in St. Clair County.

The suit states that the driver’s seat lean back mechanism lacked adequate bolts because the seat back collapsed when the van was rear-ended on April 20 by Mathenia’s 2001 Chevrolet Silverado, allegedly resulting in Cheryl Schmeder’s death.

The plaintiff accuses both defendants of negligence and wrongful death. Mathenia is sued for allegedly failing to reduce speed and maintain a proper lookout to avoid collision.

Schmeder claims loss of companionship, society and support for himself and their surviving children, along with medical and related expenses, severe pain and anguish, and other injuries to his deceased spouse.

The plaintiff seeks judgment in his favor for more than $75,000 plus attorneys’ fees and costs. Schmeder is represented by Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. of Keefe & Keefe in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-438.

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