Attorney claiming Goldenberg deprived her of fees to be heard Friday

Amelia Flood Dec. 2, 2009, 9:56am

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth will hear motions Friday in a fee dispute between lawyers who settled an oil contamination case in Hartford.

Attorney D. Jeannine Kelly claims that the Edwardsville law firm of Goldenberg Heller Antognoli Rowland & Short breached its contract with her for work she did on the case for four years, beginning in 2002.

She claims that although she was entitled by the contract to half of the fees and costs collected as well as part of the case's settlement, she was deprived of her half of over $2.6 million of fees awarded to the Goldenberg firm.

She seeks damages of $1.3 million, pre and post judgment interest, costs, and other damages. She is suing for counts of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and other claims.

The Goldenberg firm filed a motion to dismiss Kelly's complaints. It argues that Kelly voluntarily withdrew from the cases in 2006 and that Illinois law does not provide any compensation for lawyers who withdraw from a contingent fee case that goes to settlement.

"No comparable right exists or should exist in favor of a lawyer who voluntarily abandons his client," the firm's Oct. 26 motion reads. The firm also claims that if she does have grounds for a suit, it is against her former clients, not the other law firm and that the contract Kelly cites was between herself and a third party.

Ruth's motion call is set for 9 a.m.

Kelly is represented by Michael Downey of St. Louis.

The Goldenberg firm is represented by John Papa of Granite City.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-794.

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