Plaintiff wants Simmons back in legal malpractice case

Amelia Flood Feb. 26, 2010, 4:39am


Madison County's most prolific asbestos attorney may get pulled back into a legal malpractice case brought by a former client.

Plaintiff Judy Buckles filed a motion Feb. 19 asking that Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder vacate the summary judgment granted to attorney John Simmons in 2005.

Buckles had sued Simmons, his law firm and the former Hopkins Goldenberg law firm for allegedly allowing her asbestos cases against various companies to lapse before she gained the full settlements.

She settled the case that set events in motion for $750,000 on behalf of her deceased husband who died from mesothelioma.

The idea of bringing Simmons back into the case was raised at a hearing earlier this month as attorneys for the Goldenberg firm, now know as Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli and Rowland of Edwardsville, alleged that it had ended its representation of Buckles prior to the lapses and that it was Simmons who allegedly committed legal malpractice.

Attorneys for Buckles and the law firm wrangled back and forth over the issue at what was supposed to be a pre-trial conference.

After listening to the debate, Crowder put forth the idea of bringing Simmons back in.

"I myself find this to be a logical conundrum," Crowder said. "I think we're missing a player who needs to be here."

Buckles was represented in her original claims by the Goldenberg firm.

However, Simmons and his firm, now known as the Simmons Law Firm, took over her cases is July 1999.

In the Feb. 19 motion for summary judgment, plaintiff's attorney Roy Dripps argues that given Goldenberg alleges it acted in the same way as Simmons, Simmons should be brought back into the case.

Motions for summary judgment filed by both Buckles and the Goldenberg firm remain pending.

Crowder declined to rule on them.

The scheduled Feb. 11 trial date was pushed off because of the Simmons issue.

A hearing on the matter is set March 5 at 9 a.m.

John Papa represents the Goldenberg firm.

The case is Madison case number 06-L-588.

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