Motorist awarded $6,000 following O'Fallon Wal-Mart parking lot collision

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 8, 2019

A St. Clair County jury found both drivers involved in a collision in the O’Fallon Wal-Mart parking lot are liable for damages.

Jurors apportioned 60 percent responsibility to Stanley Going, deceased, and 40 percent responsibility to WC Brown.

Brown and Going had already reached a settlement in the case, which included a $15,000 award for Brown’s daughter, Jane Brown, who was a passenger in the vehicle. However, Going filed a counterclaim for contribution, which went before the jury to determine.

Due to the apportioned responsibility and the prior settlement, a judgment was entered in favor of Going and against Brown in the amount of $6,000, plus costs.


Hobin  

The trial began April 23 in Associate Judge Kevin Hoerner’s courtroom.

Counter-plaintiff Irene Going, as special representative of the estate of Stanley Going, was represented by Michael Hobin of Edwardsville.

Counter-defendant W. C. Brown was represented by Mcihael Schroer of Edwardsville.

WC Brown and Jane Brown filed an amended complaint on Feb. 8, 2017 against Chantelle Stroder and Stanley Going, alleging injuries from two separate St. Clair County collisions.

According to the complaint, WC Brown was first injured while operating a vehicle traveling northbound on Illinois Route 159 in St. Clair County on Nov. 1, 2016. Stroder was operating a vehicle behind Brown when she allegedly caused a rear-end collision.

WC Brown and Jane Brown were then allegedly injured on Nov. 30, 2016. They allege WC Brown was operating a vehicle with Jane Brown riding as a passenger. They were traveling in the parking lot at the O’Fallon Wal-Mart when Going allegedly struck the side of the plaintiffs’ vehicle.

The Browns alleged both defendants failed to keep a proper lookout, drove their vehicles in such a manner as to cause a collision, failed to properly apply the brakes, drove at an excessive rate of speed, and followed the plaintiff’s vehicle too closely.

As a result, both plaintiffs alleged they suffered injuries to their neck, shoulders, and back. They also alleged they sustained injuries to the soft tissues of the cervical shoulder and lumbar area, including the muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.

Stroder answered the complaint on March 10, 2017, through attorney Christopher Bortz of Neville Richards & Wuller LLC in Belleville. She argued that WC Brown failed to keep a proper lookout, operated his vehicle in such a way as to cause the collision and failed to take appropriate steps to avoid the collision.

Going answered the complaint on April 18, arguing that WC Brown did not exercise due care and caution for his own safety. He argued Brown failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to apply the brakes, failed to yield to Going’s right of way, and drove at an excessive speed.

Going also filed a counterclaim for contribution against WC Brown.

Going denied any liability and denied that the Browns were injured to the extent claimed. However, if he is found liable to Jane Brown, then WC Brown is liable to Going in contribution for his proportionate fault, the counter complaint stated.

Going also filed a counterclaim for contribution against Stroder, arguing that if he is found liable to WC Brown, then Stroder is liable to Going in contribution for her proportionate fault.

Stroder filed a counterclaim against Going on Aug. 3, 2017, denying that “she is in any way liable.”

However, she argued that if she is found liable for any damages, then she is entitled to contribution from Going on any verdict or judgment.

Going filed a motion for good faith finding on May 24, 2018, stating that a settlement was reached between the parties, whereby Going agreed to pay $35,000 to WC Brown and $15,000 to Jane Brown.

Jane Brown agreed that the $15,000 settlement satisfies her claimed damages.

“The settlements were negotiated in good faith during a mediation between attorneys for the respective parties and after extensive investigation and hard work on behalf of all involved.

Then on June 21, 2018, the parties filed a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice after the plaintiffs’ claims against Stroder and Going were settled.

However, Going’s cross claim for contribution against WC Brown remained pending.

Going then filed a motion for arbitration setting.

On Dec. 10, 2018, arbitrators ruled in favor of Going in the amount of $7,500 against WC Brown, plus costs of the suit. In other words, the arbitrators found Going 50 percent liable and WC Brown 50 percent liable for Jane Brown’s damages.

WC Brown rejected the award on Jan. 7.

Irene Going was then appointed as special representative of the estate of Stanley Going on Jan. 22 after he died while the case remained pending.

WC Brown filed a motion for directed verdict at the close of all evidence on April 23, arguing that Going had no legally sufficient evidentiary basis to support his claim.

“Specifically, plaintiff has failed to present sufficient evidence to submit this case to the jury on the issue of whether defendant was negligent in operating his vehicle. No reasonable jury would find for the plaintiff on this issue based on the evidence presented and defendant is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law,” the motion stated.

Brown claimed Going admitted during his deposition that he used his rearview mirrors to reverse his vehicle. He stated that he thought it was clear until he struck Brown’s vehicle.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-638

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Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion LLC

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