Simmons to stay out of asbestos legal malpractice case

Amelia Flood Mar. 11, 2010, 7:39am


East Alton attorney John Simmons will not be re-added as defendant in a Madison County legal malpractice case brought by a former asbestos client.

Simmons and his law firm were granted summary judgment five years ago in a case filed by his former client, Judy Buckles.

Buckles had sought to vacate Simmons' summary judgment in a Feb. 19 motion.

After hearing arguments March 11, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder entered a one sentence order Thursday denying the motion.

Buckles originally sued Simmons and her attorneys from the Hopkins Goldenberg firm for allegedly failing to achieve satisfactory settlements for her deceased husband's mesothelioma claims in the late 1990s. She also alleges the defendants negligently allowed her claims to lapse.

Buckles settled the underlying case for $750,000.

Both Buckles's attorney, Roy Dripps, and attorneys for the law firm of Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli and Rowland of Edwardsville, bickered about Simmons' role in the dispute at a hearing shortly before a scheduled February trial.

After what Crowder called, "game playing," by both sides during a Feb. 8 hearing, the judge pushed off the suit's Feb. 11 trial date. She chided the parties about their tactics, which in the past have included a move to disqualify Dripps from the case.

At the time, Crowder also suggested that Simmons might need to come back into the suit.

Simmons and his law firm took over Buckles' cases from the Goldenberg firm.

However, his role in the eventual settlements and claim lapses was hotly disputed between the parties at the Feb. 8 hearing.

Buckles originally filed her legal malpractice suit against the attorneys in 2001.

She refiled it in 2006.

The nine year-old case has already gone through a number of judges including Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian, former Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron, former Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn, and Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

Buckles is represented by Dripps.

The Goldenberg firm is represented by John Papa and Daniel Konicek.

Simmons was represented by A.J. Bronsky.

Defendant William Miller is representing himself.

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

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