Summary judgment granted in pool injury suit against Edwardsville attorney’s estate

Madison County Associate Judge Ronald Foster granted summary judgment to the estate of late lawyer Randy Gori against an injury claim filed by plaintiff Sara Staack on Aug. 17.

Staack didn’t appear for the hearing in Foster’s court.

Estate counsel Chris Dallavo of Chicago told Foster, “We haven’t heard from her.”

Foster’s order stated notice was “given to plaintiff at her last known address,” on South Alton Street in Freeburg.

No one has lived at that address since last October, when a storm ripped the roof open.

Keith Short of Alton filed Staack’s complaint in 2020, claiming she fell near a pool on Gori’s property on Mooney Creek Road in 2019.

Short moved to substitute Lanny Darr of Alton as counsel in 2021.

Last October, Circuit Judge Christopher Threlkeld set a conference for Jan. 25 to set dates for ending discovery and holding trial.

A day before the conference, Darr moved to withdraw as Staack’s counsel, stating the relationship was no longer viable.

Threlkeld held the conference and stated he would continue all matters until the motion was argued and ruled on.

Darr posted notice that he would bring the motion to a hearing in March.

On Feb. 28, the court clerk filed an envelope that Darr mailed to the Freeburg address.

The post office had stamped it for return to sender, unclaimed, and unable to forward.

Threlkeld heard the withdrawal motion on March 10 and granted it.

He directed the clerk to delay the next conference so Staack could seek counsel.

He directed Darr to provide an affidavit, and Darr filed one stating Staack and her family were unhappy and no longer desired his representation.

“I informed Ms. Staack of an outstanding offer from the defendant and also told her I would be seeking to withdraw my appearance as her attorney,” he wrote.

He provided the Freeburg address.

In April, Threlkeld granted leave for Gori’s estate to file a summary judgment motion.

He directed the estate to serve it on Staack at the Freeburg address.

He transferred the case to Foster in July, because Chief Judge Stephen Stobbs assigned Foster to all civil cases with parties representing themselves.

Gori’s estate filed the summary judgment motion on Aug. 11, and the case closed in six days.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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