Former Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron reached a settlement with Wal-Mart in a suit alleging he was injured when he fell from a defective saddle stool.
On Feb. 28, Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder entered an order stating the parties announced that the case had settled.
Crowder canceled the suit’s trial setting for March 12.
Byron filed his complaint on Oct. 8, 2015, through attorney Eric J. Carlson of Byron, Carlson, Petri & Kalb LLC.
In his deposition, Byron said he purchased a “Mainstays” brand 24-inch saddle stool from the Glen Carbon Wal-Mart to use in his bedroom as a place to sit while getting dressed. The stool was placed on a wood floor.
Byron alleges that on Dec. 17, 2013, he was sitting on the stool while leaning forward to put a sock on his left foot. As he was leaning back to straighten up, he claims the stool tipped backwards, causing him to fall. He claims the stool collapsed because the back bottom crossbar of the stool had broken off and a portion of the crossbar chipped apart. The rest of the stool remained intact.
Byron alleges the impact was “instantaneous,” causing him to injure his ribs and tailbone area and develop an open sore. He also alleges he had to have surgery as a result of the fall.
Byron alleges the stool was unreasonably dangerous in that it lacked adequate fasteners or hardware, was improperly assembled and was more dangerous than an ordinary consumer would expect.
Wal-Mart had sought summary judgment, arguing that Byron’s counsel failed to timely identify an expert witness.
The defendant also argued that the stool was not defective and did not collapse. Instead, Wal-Mart argued that Byron simply fell from the stool.
Crowder denied Wal-Mart’s motion for summary judgment on Feb. 14, finding that the defendant “cannot make the facts undisputed simply by stating that it disagrees.”
She concluded that the suit involves disputed issues of material fact on subject matters within the purview of the trier of fact.
Wal-Mart was represented by Heath Sherman and Shana Scheid of Nyhan Bambrick Kinzie & Lowry PC in Chicago.
Madison County Circuit court case number 15-L-1306