St. Clair County juries awarded a total of roughly $286,647
in 15 civil cases that went to verdict in 2015.
Of those 15 cases, there were five defense verdicts
and 10 verdicts in favor of plaintiffs.
Only five of those cases involved civil cases in the
law division, where the plaintiff sought more than $50,000 for damages. The
remaining cases were in the arbitration division or the LM division, which
includes cases where the plaintiff sought $50,000 or less in damages.
The 2015 verdict totals do not include cases where a trial may have started, but ended in a settlement.
On March 16, a jury ruled in favor of defendants Dr.
Donald Weimer and Belleville Orthopedic Surgeons and against plaintiff Ken
Rodenberg in Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson’s courtroom (05-L-263).
Rodenberg was represented by Christopher Petri of Byron,
Carlson, Petri & Kalb in Edwardsville.
Rodenberg, as special administrator of the estate of
Edna Rodenberg, filed the lawsuit on April 27, 2005. He claims the decedent’s
left leg had to be amputated as a result of the defendants’ alleged negligence
and carelessness in failing to diagnose an infection.
The plaintiff alleged Weimer failed to timely aspirate
the decedent’s left ankle and to perform gram stain, culture, blood or synovial
fluid analysis, failed to elicit an acceptable history from the decedent
concerning her symptoms and risk factors and failed to diagnose and treat the
decedent’s ankle for infection.
Weimer denied that he did any of the things claimed by
the plaintiff, denied that he was professionally negligent and denied that his
actions or inactions led to the amputation of Edna Rodenberg’s left leg.
Belleville Orthopedic Surgeons was named in the suit
as the principal of Weimer.
The defendants were represented by Jeffrey Glass and Untress
Quinn of Hinshaw & Culbertson in Belleville.
On June 9, a jury ruled in favor of defendant Paul
Reiniger and against plaintiff Katherine Nevener in Associate Judge Randall
Kelley’s courtroom following the five day trial (14-L-6).
Nevener was represented by Ted Harvey and Rachel Brown
of Freeark, Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville.
Nevener filed the lawsuit on Jan. 7, 2014. She claimed
that on July 29, 2013, she was attempting to walk down carpeted stairs from the
second floor to the first floor of a duplex she was renting from the defendant
when she allegedly fell.
The plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent when
he failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition and failed to make
repairs to the carpeting.
Reiniger denied that he was negligent and argued that
the plaintiff contributed to her own alleged injuries when she failed to keep a
proper lookout while using the stairs, descended the stairs at a rate of speed
that was not proper or safe and failed to exercise proper caution while using
the stairs when she knew that the carpet on the stairs was allegedly loose or
Reiniger was represented by John P. Cunningham of
Brown & James in Belleville.
On Aug. 27, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Deborah
Kohler and against defendant Kenneth Kohler in Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot’s
courtroom. They jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $100,000: $50,000 for
past disability and $50,000 for past pain and suffering (13-L-250).
Defendant Sonnenberg Paving and Landscaping Materials
Company was not found to be liable.
Deborah Kohler was represented by attorney Gregory
Shevlin of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin in Belleville.
She filed her lawsuit on May 10, 2013. She claimed she
was injured in a collision while riding as a passenger in the vehicle being
driven by Kenneth Kohler. The defendant was hauling a load of material
purchased from Sonnenberg.
Deborah Kohler claimed Sonneberg negligently loaded
materials on the trailer to make it unsafe and unstable and overloaded the
She also claimed Kenneth failed to keep the vehicle
under proper control, drove at a speed greater than reasonable and proper in
light of the circumstances, failed to reduce speed to avoid an accident and
continued to drive the vehicle when he knew or should have known that such
presented a danger to others
The defendants both denied that they did any of the
things claimed by the plaintiff and denied that they were negligent. They also
alleged the plaintiff was not injured to the extent claimed
The two defendants also filed counterclaims against
The defendants were represented by Dave Laurent of The
Laurent Law Office in Edwardsville and Mike Hobin of Reed, Armstrong, Mudge
& Morrissey in Edwardsville.
On Sept. 29, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Cecil
Rockett and against defendant Deborah McConnell in Associate Judge Chris Kolker’s
courtroom following a two-day trial. After deliberating for about an hour, the
jury awarded the plaintiff $43,720: $18,720 for medical care, $20,000 for pain
and suffering and $5,000 for loss of a normal life (13-L-261).
Rockett was represented by attorney Matthew Young of
Kuehn, Beasley & Young in Belleville.
He filed his complaint on May 20, 2013. He argued that on June
13, 2011, he was traveling westbound on Highway 50 in O’Fallon while McConnell
was traveling directly behind him. Rocket claimed he attempted to get into the
middle turn lane to turn left when the defendant struck the rear of his
The plaintiff said the defendant failed to reduce
speed to avoid an accident and failed to use evasive maneuvers to avoid an
The defendant denied the extent of the injuries
claimed. She also denied she was negligent and said the plaintiff contributed
to the collision
The court had already found that the defendant was negligent
in causing the accident. The jury was to decide how much damages, if any, to
award the plaintiff.
McConnell was represented by attorney Joseph Callahan.
On Nov. 4, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Robert
Gryzmala and against defendant Andrea Abbott in Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf’s
courtroom. The jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $70,318: $5,000 for loss
of a normal life, $10,000 for pain and suffering, $5,000 for future pain and
suffering, $45,318 for medical expenses and $5,000 for future medical expenses
Gryzmala was represented by attorney William Holland
of Goldblatt & Singer in St. Louis and Jon Rosenstengel of Bonifeld &
Rosenstengel in Belleville.
He filed his lawsuit on Nov. 6, 2013. Gryzmala alleges
the defendant caused a collision on Aug. 17, 2012, while driving on Lebanon
Avenue near the intersection of Eagles Landing Drive in St. Clair County.
Abbott admitted she was negligent in causing the
accident but denied that the plaintiff was injured to the extent claimed.
The jury was asked to find the appropriate amount of
money, if any, to award the plaintiff.
The defendant was represented by David Laurent of Glen
There was one civil case on the LM docket that went to
trial on June 24 in Rudolf’s courtroom (15-LM-700). The jury ruled in favor of
plaintiff Green Door Apartments LLC and against defendant Michael Oliver,
awarding the plaintiff $1,000.
Green Door Apartments argued through Paul Evans of O’Fallon
that the defendant violated terms of his lease by failing to pay rent. The
defendant appeared pro se.
The remaining jury trials took place in Rudolf’s
courtroom. The cases were set for arbitration, but the parties chose to reject
the arbitration awards and take the cases to jury trial instead.
- 13-AR-1246: A jury ruled in favor of
plaintiff Gregory Hayden and against defendant Diana Owens on Feb. 2 in a
lawsuit involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $15,350.
The arbitration award Hayden rejected was for $30,000, plus costs of the suit.
- 13-AR-1346: A jury ruled in favor of
plaintiff Ronald Clark and against defendant Renee Rhodes on July 6 in a
lawsuit involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of
$13,900. The arbitration award Clark rejected was for $31,500, plus costs of the suit.
- 14-AR-345: A jury ruled in favor of
plaintiff Todd Lawson and against defendant Allstate on Aug. 13 in a lawsuit
involving an alleged breach of contract in an insurance dispute. They awarded
the plaintiff a total of $13,000. The arbitration award Lawson rejected was for a
total of $33,600, plus costs of the action.
- 14-AR-398: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiffs
Lisa Seals, Joshua Ratliff and David Seals and against defendant Andrea Hopson
on March 23 in a lawsuit involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiffs
$500 each, or a total of $1,500. The arbitration award the plaintiffs rejected was for a
total of $21,643. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a new trial on damages on
April 22, but Rudolf denied the request on July 9.
- 14-AR-843: A jury ruled in favor of
defendant Richard Wakefield and against plaintiff Tim Glass on Aug. 24 in a
lawsuit involving a car accident. The arbitration award Glass rejected was
for $5,500, plus costs of the suit.
- 14-AR-1040: A jury ruled in favor of defendant
Laurie Caringer and against plaintiff Lakiesha Thomas on May 18 in a lawsuit
involving a car accident. The arbitration award Thomas rejected was for a total of
$15,099, plus costs of the suit.
- 14-AR-1189: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff
Victoria Rodgers and against defendant Dianne Gill on Dec. 16 in a case
involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $21,387. The
arbitration award Gill rejected was for $27,500, plus costs of the suit.
- 14-AR-1243: A jury ruled in favor of
defendant Aaron Bronsman and against Donald Sickmier on Dec. 15 in a case
involving a car accident. The arbitration award Sickmier rejected was for
$16,000, plus costs of the suit.
- 14-AR-1097: A jury ruled in favor of plaintiff
William Wilson and against defendant Marvin Jones on Oct. 12 in a case
involving a car accident. They awarded the plaintiff a total of $6,474. The
arbitration award Wilson rejected was for $14,000, plus costs of the