Property owner seeks to dismiss woman's trip, fall suit; Defendant alleges plaintiff was injured in fight while intoxicated

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 29, 2018

A Wood River property owner is asking the court to dismiss a woman’s complaint as sanction for discovery violations in a suit alleging she tripped on a hole on the defendant’s property.

The property owner argues that the woman was intoxicated and was actually injured when she was pushed down during an altercation with a third party.

Counsel for defendant Anita J. Bowman sought documents from plaintiff Monica L. Haxton, including medical records.

On Nov. 14, Bowman filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice as sanction for alleged discovery violations.


Wagner  

The defendant argues that she provided written discovery requests to the plaintiff’s counsel on April 5. Then the court ordered the plaintiff to respond to the discovery requests on Aug. 3.

When Haxton failed to respond, Bowman filed her second motion to compel and the plaintiff was ordered to respond no later than Nov. 9.

“As of the date of filing this motion, plaintiff has not responded to defendant’s written discovery requests,” the motion states.

“This court already advised plaintiff of the possibility of dismissal of the complaint as a sanction for further discovery violations. Plaintiff has still disregarded two orders of this court regarding the outstanding discovery. Plaintiff’s actions are directly adverse to the Supreme Court Rules and this court’s orders, and plaintiff’s actions have stalled the instant case, resulting in unreasonable delay to defendant in resolution of this matter,” the motion continues.

Haxton filed her complaint in January against Bowman, alleging she was injured in October 2016 when she stepped into a concealed hole on the defendant’s property and fell.

She seeks a judgment against Bowman of more than $50,000, plus costs.

Bowman admits that Haxton was injured on her property in her March 2 answer to the complaint. However, she argues that Haxton’s injuries were the result of her own negligence.

Bowman alleges Haxton was intoxicated and involved in a fight with a third party at the time of her fall.

“Without waiving her denials, the plaintiff’s injuries were not a result of the defendant’s negligence, nor as a result of the plaintiff falling in a hole, but rather because the plaintiff was involved in an altercation with another person, with whom she fought and was subsequently pushed down, causing her injuries herein,” Bowman’s answer states.

Haxton is represented by Thomas E. Hildebrand of Granite City.

Bowman is represented by Jennifer Wagner of Reed Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey PC in Edwardsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 18-L-38

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