BELLEVILLE – Three judges failed for more than a year to deal with an injury suit against L. Keeley Construction Inc., so Keeley decided to find a fourth judge.
Keeley moved to substitute Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf on July 16, a day after he continued a case management conference.
Any party in an Illinois court can substitute one judge without cause if the judge has not made a substantial ruling.
Rudolf presided for six months over the suit, which alleges that Sean Dushane injured an elbow and a hand due to Keeley’s negligence.
Charles Baricevic of Belleville filed the suit in January 2018, identifying Dushane as an employee for Eastman Chemical in Sauget in 2016.
Baricevic wrote that Dushane closed lids on chemical bins.
“The lids on chemical bins had a tension, and force was and is needed to close the bins appropriately,” the suit claims.
On June 11, 2016, Keeley’s representative or agent allegedly set it too high.
“Plaintiff had to use an excessive amount of force to close the bin, causing injury to his elbow and hand,” the suit says.
Keeley allegedly failed to monitor the tension, failed to warn Dushane of a hazard, and failed to provide a safe place to work.
Dushane claims he endured and will endure pain, suffering and disability, medical expenses and lost wages.
He asserts identical claims against Heritage Environmental Services.
The court issued a summons to Heritage, which returned in March 2018, and a summons to Keeley, which returned in April 2018.
Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson assigned the suit to former judge Vincent Lopinot, who set a status conference May 14, 2018.
On that date Gleeson assigned the suit to associate judge Christopher Kolker.
Kolker, now circuit judge, left no mark on the record in eight months.
In July 2018, after Baricevic moved to insert an “L” before Keeley, Lopinot signed the order granting the motion.
This January, Gleeson assigned Rudolf.
In March, Rudolf signed an order setting a status conference May 13.
On May 16, he signed an order setting a status conference July 1.
On June 11, attorney Yvette Boutaugh of St. Louis filed notice for Keeley that she would call for a case management conference July 15.
Rudolf reset the July 1 status conference to the 15th.
On that date he signed an order continuing the management conference to Sept. 17.
Next day, Boutaugh moved for substitution.
As of Aug. 6, the motion remained pending.
Keeley’s answer to the complaint stated that Dushane failed to carry out his duties in a reasonably safe manner.
It states that he chose to perform his duties in an anatomically unsound manner, and that he violated or ignored rules, regulation, and training.