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Case Name:      Dustin Stone v. MiTek Industries, Inc., v. Central Illinois Truss, Inc.

Venue:     Tazewell County

Plaintiff’s Attorney:      Bruce Pfaff, Pfaff & Gill, Ltd.

Defendant’s Attorney:       Mark Hansen, Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C.

Third-Party Defendant’s Attorney:     John O’Connor, Knell & O’Connor, P.C.

SUMMARY: Plaintiff Dustin Stone sustained a traumatic amputation of his right leg after being trapped in a roof truss press machine manufactured and designed by MiTek Industries, Inc. Dustin Stone filed a one count products liability complaint against MiTek.

MiTek filed a third-party complaint for contribution and indemnity against Dustin Stone’s employer, Central Illinois Truss, Inc. MiTek alleged, in part, negligent spoliation of evidence against Central Illinois Truss for alleged modifications and alterations to the roof truss press machine following Mr. Stone’s accident.

At issue was whether, at the time of the modifications and alterations, Central Illinois Truss had a duty to preserve evidence. Also at issue was whether the modifications to the roof truss press machine proximately caused MiTek to lose the underlying Stone litigation. See:Andersen v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 341 Ill.App.3d 212, 218, 793 N.E.2d 962, 969, 276 Ill.Dec. 203, 210 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2003) (“To remain consistent with Boyd, clearly the plaintiff must allege that the destruction of evidence has caused the plaintiff to be unable to defend the underlying lawsuit. Thus, Galbreath must allege specific facts that if proven would show that, due to the loss of evidence, it will lose the underlying case, and not that one specific defense will become unavailable to it.”)

In a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Central Illinois Truss, Knell & O’Connor successfully argued that, at the time of the alterations, there was no duty to preserve evidence. Similarly, Knell & O’Connor persuaded the court that MiTek had failed to put for evidence that the modifications were the proximate cause of their inability to prevail at trial against Dustin Stone.

Dustin Stone’s products liability case remains pending against MiTek, and is set for a July 25, 2011 jury trial.

LAST DEMAND: $12,500,000.00 and a waiver of Central Illinois Truss’ workers’ compensation lien.

LAST OFFER: $1,200,000.00.


VERDICT: Central Illinois Truss, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment granted as to MiTek’s count for negligent spoliation of evidence. Case remains pending for all other counts