Law firm caused construction company's credit score to go down, suit says

Kelly Holleran Mar. 10, 2009, 2:15am

A construction company has filed suit against an Alton law firm and one of its lawyers, alleging its credit score was drastically decreased after the lawyer failed to defend the company in a lawsuit.

Higgins Construction Service claims it hired Clifford E. Emons of Smith, Allen, Mendenhall, Emons and Selby to defend it in a lawsuit Bruce Unterbrink Construction filed against the company on March 7, 2007.

However, Emons failed to file Higgins' counterclaims against Bruce Unterbrink in a timely manner, failed to respond to request for admissions during the discovery stages and failed to assert affirmative defenses, according to the complaint filed March 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Because of Emons' actions, Higgins was forced to pay $27,767.84 worth of damages to Bruce Unterbrink and was unable to assert its $200,000 worth counterclaims against Bruce Unterbrink, the suit states.

"But for the negligence of the defendant, the plaintiff, Robert Higgins, would have prevailed on his counterclaim against Bruce Unterbrink Construction, Inc. and would not have been the recipient of an adverse judgment against him in the amount of $27,767.84, and would not have had his credit reputation damages all to his damage in an amount to be assessed by the trier of fact," the suit states.

Higgins is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus costs, attorney's fees and other orders the court finds necessary.

He is represented by Daniel J. Grimm and John J. Allan of Allan, Grimm and Summary in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0199.

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