Trip, fall suit against Fast Eddie’s Bon Air at trial in Mudge’s court

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 18, 2017

A woman’s trip and fall suit against Fast Eddie’s Bon Air alleging she tripped on an unmarked curb is at trial in Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge’s courtroom.

The trial began July 18.

Plaintiffs Cleda and George Chestnut are represented in the case by Brian Wendler of Wendler Law PC in Edwardsville.

Fast Eddie’s is represented by James Leritz of Leritz, Plunkert and Bruning PC in St. Louis.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on March 13, 2014.

In their three-count complaint, Cleda Chestnut claims she was a customer at Fast Eddie’s on Sept. 29, 2013, when she allegedly tripped and fell while walking on the enclosed street on the defendant’s Alton premises.

She alleges the street contained unmarked curbs and did not have transgression ramps from the pavement surface to the sidewalk.

She accuses the defendant of failing to warn of the alleged dangerous conditions.

As a result, Cleda Chestnut alleges she sustained severe and permanent injuries to her right leg, hip and related areas, requiring medical treatment.

She also claims she suffered great pain, mental anguish and permanent scarring from her injuries.

George Chestnut alleges he has been deprived, in whole or in part, of the support and services of his wife and is responsible for her medical bills.

Fast Eddie’s denies liability and argues that Cleda Chestnut contributed to her own injuries by failing to keep a proper lookout; failing to insure her own safety; failing to take adequate precautions to protect herself while in an unfamiliar area; and negligently walking on an area that was uneven, rough and dark.

Fast Eddie’s also argues that the condition of the premises was open and obvious.

The defendant sought summary judgment on Oct. 30, 2015.

“Whether a dangerous condition is open and obvious is determined by the objective knowledge of a reasonable person, not the plaintiff’s subjective knowledge,” the motion states.

“Based on the deposition testimony of Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs’ witnesses and Plaintiffs’ expert and looking at the circumstances objectively, it is clear that a reasonable person in Mrs. Chestnut’s position, exercising ordinary perception, intelligence and judgment, would have avoided the open and obvious hazard posed by the step,” it continues.

Mudge took the motion for summary judgment under advisement on Jan. 28, 2016. He ordered the defendant to produce additional photographs and ordered the plaintiffs to produce a copy of Eddie Sholar’s deposition.

On Nov. 28, 2016, Mudge entered an order requiring the parties to mediate.

The Chestnuts filed a motion to enforce the mediation order on Jan. 12.

They argue that after Mudge ordered mediation, the defendant failed to respond to emails seeking to select a mediator.

Then the defendant requested a settlement demand. The plaintiffs allegedly reminded Fast Eddies of the need to comply with the mediation order.

The defendant did not respond.

Mudge granted the motion that same day and appointed retired judge Daniel Stack to mediate the case.

On Jan. 25, Mudge set the case for trial this month.

Then on April 20, Mudge entered an order stating, “By agreement of the parties the Court’s prior Order appointing Hon. Daniel Stack as mediator does not preclude the parties from agreeing to mediation with a different mediator.”

Nothing further on the topic appears on the record.

Jury selection began July 18.

The Chestnuts seek a judgment of more than $50,000 each.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-403

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