Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, September 16, 2019

Family reaches settlement with Cracker Barrel in suit alleging son lacerated fingers from fallen newspaper stand

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 23, 2017

A family has settled its lawsuit alleging their three-year-old son lost two fingers when a newspaper stand fell on him outside a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

A settlement conference was held on March 21 before Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams and the settlement terms were sealed.

Plaintiffs Matthew and Casey Gibbs appeared through Steve Giacoletto of Giacoletto Law Firm in Collinsville.

Cypress Media appeared through Ken Hagdorn for Travelers Insurance and counsel Jeffery Suess and Robbye Toft of Rynearson Suess Schnurbusch & Champion LLC in St. Louis.

CBOCS West appeared through Kelley Bryant of Cracker Barrel and counsel Jessica Holliday of Brown & James PC in Belleville.

Third-party defendant Kaspar Wire Works Inc. appeared through in-house counsel Trent Nichols, Jeff Clossen of Liberty Insurance and counsel Joseph Callahan of the Law Office of Rouse and Cary in St. Louis.

On May 11, the plaintiffs filed a motion for an extension of time for dismissal with prejudice. They argue that they need more time to work through the details of a structured settlement and approval by the probate court.

Magistrate Judge Donald Wilkerson granted the motion for extension of time and ordered the case to be dismissed with prejudice on July 24 unless the parties fail to finalize the settlement by that date.

In their November 2015 complaint, the plaintiffs allege that on Nov. 16, 2013, they were finishing dinner with their son Carson and others when the boy opened a Belleville News Democrat newspaper box. They claim the box was not secured and fell on their son.

As a result, the child’s third and fourth fingers on his right hand were lacerated.

Defendants Cypress Media and CBOCS West both argued in their answers to the amended complaint that the plaintiffs allowed their son to hang from the newsstand and failed to supervise their child, among other allegations.

Kaspar Wire Works had previously argued that it did not manufacture the newspaper stand at issue and cannot be held liable.

The case was originally filed in the Madison County Circuit Court and was removed to federal court on Feb. 27, 2015.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois case number 3:15-cv-213

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Brown & James P.C. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois