|Style of Case: Gordan Philbrick, et al., vs. Central Illinois Public Service Co. and Dover Elevator Co.
Client: Dover Elevator Co.
Trial End Date: 11/3/2000
Court: Madison County, Edwardsville, Illinois
Type of Case: Elevator Failure; Contribution; 23 Plaintiffs Injured
Judge: The Honorable Nicholas G. Byron
Reed Armstrong Lawyer who tried the case: Stephen C. Mudge
Gordon Philbrick and 22 other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Central Illinois Public Service Company who owned and operated a power plant in Effingham, Illinois, and Dover Elevator Company, our client, who had originally installed an elevator at the power plant. Twenty-three separate plaintiffs were injured when the elevator descended from the 13th floor. The defendants collectively entered into a settlement of approximately 49 million dollars ($49,000,000.00). The defendants then tried a contribution claim against each other in order to have the jury allocate what, if any, liability each party shared. Central Illinois Power Company maintained that all or nearly all the liability lay with Dover Elevator Company. Dover Elevator Company took the position that most of the liability laid with Central Illinois Power Company. After a 2 ½ week trial the jury reached a verdict allocating 95 percent of the fault against Central Illinois Power Company and only 5 percent of the fault against Dover Elevator Company. This appears to be the largest contribution jury trial in Madison County to date. Last Demand: Central Illinois Public Service Company demanded that Dover Elevator pay the entire amount of the pre-trial settlement with the plaintiffs.
Central Illinois Public Service Company was never reasonable in their demand.
Verdict: The jury allocated only 5 percent of the total fault to Dover Elevator Company and 95 percent of the fault to Central Illinois Public Service Company.