Sixteen Madison County jury trials went to verdict in 2016; Nearly $8 million awarded to nine plaintiffs

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 5, 2017

Madison County jurors awarded a total of $7,987,756 in 16 civil jury trials that went all the way to verdict in 2016.

Madison County jurors awarded a total of $7,987,756 in 16 civil jury trials that went all the way to verdict in 2016.

Of the 16 cases that went to trial, nine juries returned verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs and seven juries entered verdicts in favor of defendants.

Seven of the plaintiff verdicts were awarded in auto accident suits, while the remaining two cases alleged fraud and chemical exposure. In fact, the chemical exposure suit accounts for $7.5 million of the total awards.

Five of the jury verdicts involved arbitration suits that could not reach agreements, and 11 of the cases were law cases.

These totals do not include jury trials that ended in settlements.

The 2016 awards are roughly $7.1 million more than the total awarded in 2015, in which $830,028 was awarded to four plaintiffs.

On Jan. 6, 2016, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiffs Barbara Weis, individually and as mother and next friend of Patton Weis, and Curtis Weis $43,357.02 in the first verdict of 2016 (13-L-1327).

The three-day trial was held in Circuit Judge William Mudge’s courtroom.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on Aug. 8, 2013. Defendant Tenor Barker was substituted as defendant on March 28, 2014. The plaintiffs alleged that on June 28, 2013, Barker was operating his vehicle westbound on Bellm Road at the intersection of Arkansas Road when he ran a stop sign and collided with the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs were represented by Brian Wendler of Wendler Law in Edwardsville. Barker was represented by David Simkins of Wuestling & James in St. Louis.

On Feb. 1, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiff George Spearman $8,500 in a suit alleging he was struck by a vehicle while riding his motor scooter (15-AR-164).

The one-day trial was held in Associate Judge Clarence Harrison’s courtroom.

Spearman filed the lawsuit on April 28, 2015, against Belva O. Blakely. Spearman alleged Blakely was driving her vehicle towards the intersection of Line Alley and Market Street in Venice and struck the plaintiff’s motor scooter.

Spearman was represented by Jeremy Sackett of Edwardsville. Blakely was represented by Roger Wilson of St. Louis.

On Feb. 17, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiff Celeste Berry $30,143.30 in an auto accident suit (12-L-2090).

The one-day trial was held in Mudge’s courtroom.

Berry filed the lawsuit on Dec. 28, 2012, against attorney Kevin Babb, as representative of the estate of deceased Sylvester M. Silas Sr. Berry alleged Silas collided with her parked vehicle on Market Street in Venice on Jan. 5, 2011.

Berry was represented by Kenneth Beljanski of Brown & Brown in Fairview Heights. Babb was represented by David Laurent of Glen Carbon.

On Feb. 17, a Madison County jury entered a verdict in favor of defendant Robert Osterhout in a car accident suit (12-L-91).

The two-day trial was held in Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian’s courtroom.

Matoesian denied plaintiff Michael Thomason’s motion for a new trial on May 5.

Thomason filed the lawsuit on Jan. 21, 2012. He alleged Osterhout was operating a motor vehicle on Nov. 22, 2010, in a northern direction along Illinois Route 159 when he allegedly rear-ended Thomason’s vehicle.

Thomason was represented by Adam Bragee of Beatty & Motil in Glen Carbon. Osterhout was represented by Tori Walls of Reed Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey in Edwardsville.

On March 2, a Madison County jury reached a verdict in favor of defendants DeCamp Junctions, Inc. and Jim Moultrie in a suit alleging injuries while covering first base in a softball game (08-L-871).

The trial began on Feb. 29 in Matoesian’s courtroom.

Plaintiff Gregory Gvillo filed the lawsuit in September 2008 against DeCamp Junctions and tournament organizer Moultrie. Gvillo claimed he injured when a batter ran towards first base and allegedly crashed into the plaintiff.

Gvillo alleged the defendants failed to follow the Amateur Softball Association’s Rules of Softball, which requires a first base to be a double base with half of the base in foul territory.

Gvillo was represented by Christopher Donohoo of East Alton. The defendants were represented by Robert H. Gregory of East Alton.

On March 10, a Madison County jury awarded Contegra Construction Company LLC $50,000 in a fraud case involving the construction of a Fairview Heights forensics lab (13-L-82).

The trial began on Feb. 29 in Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder’s courtroom.

Contegra Construction filed the lawsuit on Jan. 17, 2013, against defendant Robert Sutphen. Contegra alleged separate claims of fraudulent misrepresentation for false applications for payment and an altered stored material log.

Contegra was represented by Nicholas Garzia and Christopher Baucom of St. Louis and Allan Napp of Alton. Sutphen was represented by Edward Moor of Chicago.

Crowder denied Sutphen’s motion for a judgment notwithstanding a verdict on Oct. 27. The defendant appealed on Nov. 17

On April 13, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiff John Grounds $16,766 in an auto accident suit (14-AR-291).

The one-day trial was held in Circuit Judge John Barberis’ courtroom.

Grounds filed the lawsuit on June 26, 2014, against defendant Kyler Elfgen. Grounds alleged Elfgen was driving his vehicle eastbound on Broadway in Alton on July 2, 2012, when he allegedly struck the plaintiff’s vehicle from behind.

Grounds was represented by Allan Napp of Schrempf Kelly Napp & Darr in Alton. Elfgen was represented by Jason Kleindorfer of Freeark Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville.

On May 3, a Madison County jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant Gregory Rogers in an auto accident suit (15-AR-139).

The trial began on May 2 in Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs’ courtroom.

Anthony Viviano filed the lawsuit on April 14, 2015, against Rogers. Viviano alleged Rogers was driving his vehicle on Dec. 18, 2013, westbound on 23rd Street in Granite City directly behind the plaintiff when he allegedly rear-ended Viviano.

On July 7, Stobbs’ denied Vivano’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Viviano was represented by W. Michael Gnavi of Gnavi Law Offices in Collinsville. Rogers was represented by Kleindorfer.

On May 11, a Madison County jury entered a verdict in favor of defendant Catherine Ellsworth in a car accident suit (12-AR-254).

The trial began on May 10 in Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth’s courtroom.

Plaintiff Jason Bardsley filed the lawsuit on April 30, 2012, against Ellsworth. He alleged he was driving his 2002 GMC F250 westbound on Eaton Street, crossing the intersection of Second Street in Wood River on June 30, 2010, while Ellsworth was allegedly stopped at the intersection facing northbound.

Bardsley alleged Ellsworth entered the intersection and struck his vehicle. Ellsworth denied liability.

Bardsley was represented by Lanny Darr of The Darr Firm in Alton. Ellsworth was represented by Michael Murphy of Freeark Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville.

Bardsley filed a motion for a new trial on May 26. No ruling on the motion has been entered.

On June 9, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiffs Greg Wallace $226,000 and Shelley Wallace $75,000 in an auto accident suit (13-L-1845).

The trial began on June 6 in Crowder’s courtroom.

The Wallaces filed the lawsuit on Nov. 5, 2013, against Tammi Boston. Greg Wallace alleged he was driving his vehicle on Nov. 6, 2011, while emerging onto S.R. 162. At the same time, Boston was driving her vehicle westbound on S.R. 162. Wallace claimed Boston collided with his vehicle while passing several stopped vehicles in a no passing zone.

The plaintiffs were represented by Charles Armbruster and Michael Blotevogel. Boston was represented by Michael Reda and Daniel Lytle.

On June 20, a Madison County jury entered a verdict in favor of defendant Kendra Holdener in a car accident suit (15-L-51).

The one-day trial was held in Matoesian’s courtroom.

Plaintiff Abbey Rodgers filed the lawsuit on Jan. 15, 2015, against Holdener. Rodgers alleged that on June 18, 2014, she was operating her vehicle in a southerly direction on Troy Road at the intersection of Governor’s Parkway in Edwardsville. At the same time, Holdener was operating her vehicle in a northerly direction at the same intersection when the two collided.

Rodgers alleged Holdener negligently operated her vehicle, causing the collision.

Holdener denied liability and alleged Rodgers was negligent and was not injured to the extent claimed.

Rodgers was represented by Patrick King of King Law Firm LLC in Alton. Holdener was represented by Tori Walls of Edwardsville.

On Sept. 12, a Madison County jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant Allstate in a suit alleging the insurance company denied a homeowner’s claim for coverage (15-AR-51).

The one-day trial was held in Barberis’ courtroom.

Leopoldine Corsa filed the lawsuit on Feb. 10, 2015, against Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company. Corsa alleged the ceiling in her dining room, bedroom and den collapsed on April 20, 2014. She filed a claim with Allstate through her homeowners insurance, which was denied.

Corsa was represented by Fred Patrick Schuman and Janel Freeman of Unsell, Schuman and Freeman in East Alton. Allstate was represented by Robert Brady and Stacey McCullough of Brown & James in St. Louis.

On Sept. 28, a Madison County jury awarded railroad worker James Brown $7.5 million in a suit alleging exposure to toxic chemicals caused him to develop cancer (10-L-1213).

The jury awarded Brown $1.5 million for disability, $1.3 million for loss of a normal life, $1 million for pain and suffering, $3 million for medical expenses and $700,000 for lost earnings.

The trial began on Sept. 19 in Mudge’s courtroom.

Brown filed the lawsuit on Dec. 3, 2010 against Union Pacific Railroad. Brown alleged that he developed myeloid leukemia as a result of extended exposure to chemicals while working for the company’s predecessor Chicago & North Western Railway for 18 years and for Union Pacific for 13 years. He alleged exposures to creosote, degreasing solvents and lead.

Brown was represented by David Damick of St. Louis. Union Pacific was represented by William Lamson of Lamson Dugan & Murray in Omaha, Neb.

On Nov. 1, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiff Keon Hearn $32,189.92 in a car accident suit (15-L-1348).

The trial began on Dec. 31 in Crowder’s courtroom.

Hearn filed the lawsuit on Dec. 19, 2015, against Mitchell Bowens. He alleged that on Dec. 23, 2014, Bowens was driving his vehicle east on Rogier in Alton at 5 p.m. At the same time, Hearn was driving his vehicle north on Belle Street near the intersection with Rogier when the two collided.

Hearn alleged that Bowens negligently caused the collision, injuring the plaintiff.

Bowens admitted that he was negligent, but denied that Hearn was injured to the extent claimed.

Hearn was represented by Ely Hadowsky of Brown & Brown in St. Louis. Bowens was represented by Roger Wilson of St. Louis.

On Nov. 30, a Madison County jury awarded plaintiff Alisha Burke $5,800 in a car accident suit (14-L-681).

The trial began on Nov. 28 in Matoesian’s courtroom.

Burke filed the lawsuit in May 2014 against Mark Robinson. Burke alleged she was riding in a 2013 Ford Taurus, which was operated by Alton police officer Stephen January. The officer stopped at the intersection of Pearl and Silver Streets in Alton when Robinson allegedly collided with the cruiser.

Burke was represented by Stephen Buser of Columbia. Robinson was represented by Michael Murphy of Freeark Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville.

On Dec. 8, a Madison County jury entered a verdict in favor of defendants Dr. Mark Freeman and Illinois Associates in Psychiatry (12-L-24).

The trial began on Dec. 5 in Ruth’s courtroom.

Carmen Huff, as special administrator of the estate of Kelly Huff, filed the lawsuit on Jan. 6, 2012. She alleged her deceased husband received psychiatric services for treatment of depression by the defendants for many months before his death by suicide. He took his own life with a firearm on Feb. 17, 2011.

Huff was represented by Rocco A. Marrese of Edwardsville. The defendants were represented by Richard Korn of Fox Galvin in St. Louis.

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Organizations in this Story

Madison County Circuit Court Reed, Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey

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