Motions, depositions and other pre-trial casework often take a year or more before a lawsuit goes to trial or is settled. A judge’s retirement can lengthen that time.
In Tazewell County, the high-profile case of Edwards v. McQuitty faces that possibility with the pending departure of Associate Judge Richard McCoy.
McCoy confirmed Monday that he will leave the bench on Sept. 1, after 17 1/2 years as a 10th Judicial Circuit associate judge and 20 previous years of private law practice. His seat’s vacancy, with two years left on its term, was posted May 23 by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
Assigned to lawsuits, probate and other civil matters in Tazewell, he presided Monday over a pre-trial hearing in the case alleging the wrongful death of Troy Edwards of Pekin.
Edwards died of internal bleeding a day after undergoing kidney removal surgery at then-Pekin Hospital in April 2016. Two months later, his wife filed a wrongful death suit against several defendants, including the hospital and Dr. Dwayne McQuitty, her husband’s surgeon.
Edwards, 35, was a former star quarterback at Pekin Community High School who also played for the former Peoria Pirates professional arena football team. McQuitty, 57, committed suicide in his hospital office 12 days after Edwards’ death.
McCoy said he will remain with the case until his retirement, after which it’s expected to be assigned to a third judge. Judge Michael Risinger initially was assigned to the suit.
Risinger is currently assigned to the county’s other pending wrongful death suit, now well past 1 1/2 years in litigation.
A case management conference is set for July 13, in the suit by the families of two men who succumbed to poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas as they prepared to clean a railroad tank car at Agridyne LLC, a Pekin animal feed plant.
The suit was filed in October 2015 after Frank Rosebur, 37, of Peoria, and Dean Stone, 29, of Pekin, died in June 2014, allegedly as the result of job safety violations by Agridyne. The company was issued stiff penalties after an investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
McCoy’s replacement will be chosen by the 10th Circuit’s 10 full judges from candidates who have until June 22, to submit their applications. Associate judges serve four-year terms, with reappointments by the judges.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin