Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Skidmore v. Gateway Western Railway Company

September 09, 2002

EDITH SKIDMORE, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF CLIFFORD SKIDMORE, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
GATEWAY WESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 00-L-557 Honorable Stephen M. Kernan, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Maag

As amended September 25, 2002. Released for publication.

EDITH SKIDMORE, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF CLIFFORD SKIDMORE, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
GATEWAY WESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 00-L-557 Honorable Stephen M. Kernan, Judge, presiding.

Attorneys for Appellant

Paul M. Brown, Anthony L. Franks, Thompson Coburn Llp, One U.S. Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101-1693

Attorney for Appellee

Kevin T. Hoerner, Becker, Paulson & Hoerner, P.C., 5111 West Main Street, Belleville, IL 62226

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Maag

PUBLISH

Edith Skidmore (plaintiff), special administrator of the estate of Clifford Skidmore, deceased, filed a wrongful-death action against Gateway Western Railway Company (defendant) in the circuit court of St. Clair County, Illinois. The action arose from a railroad crossing accident that occurred in Lafayette County, Missouri. The circuit court denied defendant's motion to dismiss the case on the grounds of interstate forum non conveniens. Defendant petitioned for leave to appeal pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(2) (166 Ill. 2d R. 306(a)(2)), alleging that the circuit court's decision was an abuse of discretion. We granted leave to appeal and now consider the issue.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. on March 15, 2000, a train operated by the defendant's crew struck a vehicle operated by Clifford Skidmore. The incident occurred at a railroad grade crossing in Mayview, Lafayette County, Missouri. A trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to the accident scene and conducted the initial investigation. A few hours later the scene was turned over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol accident reconstruction team for further investigation. Emergency medical personnel from nearby Higginsville, Missouri, responded to the scene. Mr. Skidmore was evaluated and then airlifted to Kansas City Research Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Mr. Skidmore died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the collision. At the time of this incident, Clifford Skidmore lived in Lafayette County, Missouri, with his spouse, Edith Skidmore, and their two minor children.

On September 19, 2000, the circuit court of St. Clair County, Illinois, approved plaintiff's petition for her appointment as the special administrator of the estate of Clifford Skidmore. On that same day, she filed a wrongful-death action against defendant in St. Clair County, Illinois. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the case on interstate forum non conveniens grounds, claiming that the public- and private-interest factors weighed heavily in favor of a dismissal. Defendant claimed that the case could be tried more efficiently and conveniently in the Missouri circuit court located in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri. The St. Clair County circuit court denied defendant's motion, and defendant petitioned for leave to appeal.

Before addressing the forum non conveniens issue, we will address defendant's motion to disqualify plaintiff's counsel. Defendant's motion was filed during the pendency of this appeal. We ordered that the motion be taken with the case, in order to provide the parties with the opportunity to address the issue during oral argument. In its motion, defendant contends that plaintiff's counsel has a conflict of interest and should be disqualified from representing plaintiff in this case. According to the record, plaintiff's counsel currently represents Thomas Sullivan, the engineer of the train involved in the pending case, in an unrelated personal injury action against defendant and other railroad companies. Defendant contends that plaintiff's counsel is not permitted to engage in ex parte contacts with Mr. Sullivan without its consent ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.