Legal mal suit claims junkyard owner paid too much to settle

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 28, 2006, 3:26am

The owner of an Alton junkyard filed a legal malpractice suit against his former attorneys in Madison County Dec. 22, claiming they negligently failed to settle a case for $35,000, which led to a settlement that caused him to pay $155,000 more than he should have.

Ken Edwards of Ken's Auto Sales claims Raymond Stillwell and Nathan Anderson represented him after an employee, John West, suffered extensive injuries to his face on Dec. 3, 2003, when a multi-piece tire rim came apart striking West in the face.

According to the complaint, Edwards did not have workers' compensation insurance at the time West received his injuries and retained the defendants to represent him in West's personal injury suit.

He claims during the course of the litigation, West's attorney, John Gibson, offered to settle the case for $35,000, but claims Stillwell and Anderson never told him about the offer and then withdrew as attorney of record in the personal injury case.

Edwards then hired Brad Hunt to represent him and claims during a deposition, Hunt learned of the $35,000 offer to settle but Gibson had already withdrawn the amount.

According to the complaint, the case went to a bench trial before Judge Don Weber on Sept. 13, and after both parties rested and during Weber's deliberation, the parties agreed to settle for $190,000.

Edwards claims he has been damaged by the defendants' negligence in the sum of $155,000.

Edwards also is represented by Brad Hunt in this suit. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder.

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