Lawyer v. Lawyer: Madison County suits seeks more than $1 million

Kelly Holleran Sep. 8, 2008, 9:10am

A Madison County attorney has filed suit against a Madison County law firm, alleging it failed to pay her more than $1 million for work she helped them perform on a lawsuit.

D. Jeannine Kelly claims she and Goldenberg, Heller, Anognoli, Rowland & Short represented certain individuals, referred to as "Hartford plaintiffs," in claims associated with petroleum contamination.

The claims were against a number of petroleum companies, including Premcor and Equilon, according to the complaint filed Sept. 5.

Kelly alleges she and the Goldenberg firm signed contracts with the Hartford plaintiffs that stated they would be compensated for their work.

"Specifically, the contracts stated that 'the above fees and costs collected by my attorneys are being split evenly between Goldenberg, Miller, Heller & Antognoli, P.C. and the Law Offices of D. Jeannine Kelly," the lawsuit states.

Kelly claims she worked with the Goldenberg firm until late July 2006 when she withdrew from the litigation due to a conflict with the Goldenberg firm and the necessity that she had to devote time to another matter.

She claims any work she had done prior to her withdrawal should have been compensated out of any recovery made from the Hartford plaintiffs.

She alleges that through the terms of a number of settlements, the Goldenberg Firm was awarded $2,666,666.50.

She was told in July by the Goldenberg Firm she would not be compensated under the contract, the complaint states.

She alleges the contracts she signed with the firm and the plaintiffs were valid and binding and that she should be paid.

Kelly states she spent her time, energy and additional resources for the Hartford plaintiffs and for the mutual benefit of herself and the Goldenberg Firm.

"Plaintiff, during the course of her representation, created the basis for the class action cause of action and the legal theory upon which the class action was settled," the suit states. "Plaintiff's efforts were essential to the Hartford plaintiffs' ultimate recovery and constitute substantial work on the part of the Plaintiff on behalf of her clients, the Hartford plaintiffs."

Kelly claims that the Goldenberg Firm has breached the terms of contract by refusing to pay her.

She is seeking a judgment of $1,333,333.25, plus pre and post judgment interest, the costs of the suit and any other relief the court deems appropriate.

She is also seeking an equitable lien or a constructive trust.

Kelly is represented by David R. Jones in East Alton.

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