Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, August 19, 2019

Construction company granted motion for good-faith settlement in highway crash case

By Zachary Lewis | May 23, 2017

BENTON — A lawsuit arising from a crash on westbound I-70 four years ago in Madison County has settled in federal court.

The case began with Thomas Roberts, a motorist who filed a complaint against freighting company Alexandria Transportation Inc., Alex Express LL and a freight driver, Alexandre Solomakha. Roberts was allegedly rear-ended and seriously injured by Solomakha's Freightliner while he was stopped at a construction zone on Sept. 16, 2013.

In turn, the defendants filed complaints against Edwards-Kamadulski LLC, Safety International LLC and Statewide Tire Distributors Inc. accusing them of being liable parties in the accident.  

Edwards-Kamadulski opted to settle with the plaintiffs for $50,000, which was opposed by Alexandria and Alex Express. The plaintiffs had sought $2 million due to injuries and damages overall, and the companies argued Edwards-Kamadulski was more culpable.  

A motion for good faith settlement was filed jointly between Edwards-Kamadulski and plaintiffs Thomas and Diane Roberts under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act. However, the defendants, here known as the third-party plaintiffs, argued the amount was decided upon in bad faith and was unreasonable by the Act’s standards.

The court held that the amount of a settlement is not always an indication of bad faith according to the Contribution Act’s guidelines. As negotiations between Edwards-Kamadulski and the Robertses did not result in collusion, wrongful conduct or fraud, it was determined there were no clear violations of the Act.

Moreover, the court agreed with the plaintiffs' argument that Solomakha was the root cause of the accident as he was ticketed for driving at high speeds which led to the collision.   

Due to lack of evidence of a violation regarding the Contribution Act, the court granted the motion allowing the settlement to stand.  

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois - Benton Division