Plaintiff asking appellate court to bring attorney back into legal malpractice case

Amelia Flood Aug. 31, 2010, 11:10am

A man who claims at least three attorneys botched a lawsuit he filed in Mississippi is asking the Fifth District Appellate Court to bring one of those attorneys back into his suit.

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian granted attorney Joseph Hoefert summary judgment in the suit brought by plaintiff Denzil Ridenour on Jan 15.

Ridenour is suing Hoefert and attorney Richard Gibson for at least $100,000 on legal malpractice claims.

The case originally included attorney Jon Carlson and his law firm and the estate of Morris Chapman as defendants.

The Carlson defendants were dropped from the suit.

The Chapman estate settled with Ridenour earlier this year.

In his suit, Ridenour claims that he first retained Hoefert to work on a personal injury suit he filed in Mississippi in 1994.
Hoefert allegedly then passed the case on to Gibson, who at the time worked at the Carlson firm.

When Gibson left the Carlson firm, he took Ridenour's file with him.
The Mississippi case was eventually dismissed after 10 years for want of prosecution.

Ridenour then went to the now-deceased Chapman. Chapman died in 2007.

The plaintiff claims Gibson and Chapman botched his appeal.

Matoesian granted Hoefert summary judgment based on the statute of limitations in the case.

In his motion asking Matoesian to reconsider Hoefert's summary judgment, Ridenour argued the court erred in allowing the move because Hoefert had a duty to inform Ridenour he had a claim of malpractice against Hoefert and Gibson.

"That silence by a fiduciary when he ought to speak is tantamount to concealment," the Feb. 18 motion reads.

Ridenour filed a notice of appeal on the summary judgment earlier this year.

His brief was due in Mount Vernon Aug. 5.

However, his attorney Bradford Hunt asked the court for permission to file the brief late due to a vacation.

Hoefert is represented by Richard Korn.

Gibson represents himself.

The Chapman estate was represented by Michael Nester.

The judge is set to hear motions in the suit Sept. 7 at 9 a.m.

The case is Madison case number 05-L-660.

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