Crowder puts foot down on long-standing Madison County legal malpractice case

Steve Korris Mar. 5, 2009, 1:00am



Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has denied a motion to disqualify Roy Dripps of LakinChapman law firm as counsel to former asbestos plaintiff Judy Buckles in a legal malpractice suit against Mark Goldenberg's firm.

Dripps will continue preparing for a trial Crowder has set for October.

Buckles sued the former Hopkins Goldenberg firm in 2006, claiming it damaged her by mishandling her husband's wrongful death suit.

She reopened a suit she had filed in 2001 and dismissed without prejudice in 2005.

John Papa of Granite City and Dan Konicek of Chicago, representing Goldenberg's firm, moved to disqualify Dripps.

They argued that former Hopkins Goldenberg lawyer Gary Peel joined the Lakin firm and began working on the Buckles file.

Crowder heard arguments in October and January. On Feb. 24, she reached a decision.

"Trial preparation and discovery have been going on between these parties for close to eight years," she wrote.

"To remove Roy Dripps and his law firm or attorney John Papa and his firm from representing their parties at this time would severely prejudice the litigants," she wrote.

"All counsel are aware of the Rules of Professional Conduct and no attorney has seen fit to disqualify himself and withdraw from representing any party," she wrote.

"Whether any counsel has violated a rule of professional conduct or is otherwise subject to administrative sanctions is not an issue for this court," she wrote.

"The orderly administration of justice and affording litigants their day in court as scheduled without unnecessary delays are issues for the undersigned," she wrote.

"This matter will be resolved this calendar year, either through mediation and settlement or through resolution via trial as scheduled in October," she wrote.

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