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Defendant wants out-of-state court to hear liability case

The widow of an Illinois state trooper has filed a civil lawsuit against an out-of-state truck driver and the company that hired him. The wrongful death lawsuit claims Dot Foods was aware the employee had medical problems at the time the driver caused a fatal trucking accident.

The tractor trailer hit the 32-year-old victim while the trooper was standing beside a vehicle during a traffic stop near Litchfield. The father of two was killed instantly.

The plaintiff is seeking compensation for the emotional trauma she and her children suffered after their loved one's death. The lawsuit says the defendants were negligent for ignoring dangers associated with the trucker's medical condition.

The fatal accident occurred last fall in Montgomery County. The lawsuit for a minimum of $50,000 in damages was filed in Madison County in the southern part of the state.

The individual named in the suit has petitioned the court to have the case thrown out or moved. The defendant wants the issue decided in the mid-state county where the fatality took place or in Georgia, where the defendant resides.

The defendant claims the bulk of evidence for the civil dispute is located in his home state. Georgia-based health records and physicians' testimony would prove whether or not allegations the trucker was medically unfit were true.

The motion stated two crucial witnesses - other potentially-inconvenienced Georgia employees for Dot Foods -- were traveling behind the defendant at the time of the Interstate 55 crash. The petition added that the Madison County civil court caseload was extremely heavy compared to the smaller backlog of cases in Georgia courts.

Defendants do not have to be Illinois residents to be tried in state courts. Courts have jurisdiction over non-residents in several circumstances, including defendants involved in injury traffic accidents or fatalities. Liability attorneys can explain the in-state and out-of-state jurisdictional options available to plaintiffs filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source:, "Driver accused of causing trooper's death seeks to transfer case to Georgia" Christina Stueve Hodges, Jun. 06, 2013

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