Client loses case after 10 years, goes after his lawyer

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 26, 2005, 6:03am

Denzil Ridenour filed suit against his former attorney Richard Gibson claiming he failed to properly prepare and try his 10-year-old personal injury case which was recently dismissed by a Mississippi court.

Represented by Morris Chapman of Edwardsville, Ridenour is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

According to the complaint filed July 20 in Madison County Circuit Court, Ridenour, a Tupelo, Miss. truck driver, hired Gibson--who at the time worked for Carlson & Carlson of Edwardsville. Ridenour's 1995 case against North Mississippi Medical Center, Jesco Inc., Spirtet Construction Company and B&B Concrete alleged permanent injuries which prevented him from engaging in gainful employment.

Carlson & Carlson are named as respondents in discovery since the firm is believed to have essential information regarding who should be properly named as defendants in this action.

Gibson took Ridenour's case with him upon leaving Carlson & Carlson, the suit claims.

Ridenour alleges that on June 10, almost 10 years after the case was first filed, trial was set in Lee County, Miss.

Gibson was ill-prepared for the trial and failed personally to appear ready for trial, Ridenour claims. The case was dismissed with prejudice by the Circuit Court of Lee County.

"On his own volition and without specific authority" Gibson appealed the dismissal, even though Ridenour told him he is not authorizing the appeal and does not wish Gibson to proceed with the case.

According to the complaint, Gibson was guilty of malpractice or negligence by failing to appropriately advise the Lee County Trial Court of his inability to try the case until it was called for trial and with knowledge that the case had been set for trial four times since 1999, failed to proceed with the case permitting its dismissal with prejudice.

Ridenhour claims as a result, he lost his case and thereby lost his right for medical and hospital care sustained by him from the treatment of his injuries, lost of income, loss of the ability to lead a normal life, and pain and suffering.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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