Arguments to bring Simmons back into legal malpractice case set March 5

Amelia Flood Mar. 4, 2010, 5:00am


Neither party in a legal malpractice suit stemming from the settlement of a mesothelioma case will get summary judgment.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder denied both plaintiff Judy Buckles' and defendant Goldenberg Heller Antognoli Rowland & Short's motions for summary judgment on March 2.

But, Crowder is set to hear motions that would bring back into the suit attorney John Simmons, who had previously been granted summary in the matter on March 5.

Crowder heard short arguments on the motions last month although the hearing quickly turned into a fight over what role former defendant Simmons and his law firm played in the case.

Buckles is suing the Goldenberg firm- formerly known as Hopkins Goldenberg – for legal malpractice related to the settlement of her deceased husband's mesothelioma claims.

She alleges the Goldenberg firm allowed her claims to lapse before she could receive full settlements for her husband's death.

She eventually settled the underlying suit for $750,000.

Simmons and his law firm, now know as Simmons Law Firm, were initially named as defendants along with the Goldenberg firm.

He was granted summary judgment in 2005.

During arguments over the summary judgment moves Feb. 8, Goldenberg alleged that Simmons had been responsible for letting the suits lapse because Goldenberg no longer represented Buckles.

After wrangling back and forth between the parties, Crowder expressed her frustration with what she called game playing and suggested that Simmons might need to come back into the suit.

Buckles filed a motion asking Crowder to vacate Simmons' summary judgment Feb. 19.

The suit's Feb. 11 trial date was pushed off due to the dispute.

Crowder is set to hear arguments about bringing Simmons back in Friday at 9 a.m.

Buckles originally filed the suit in 2001 before refiling it again in 2006.

Buckles is represented by Roy Dripps.

The Goldenberg firm is represented by John Papa.

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

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