Glen Carbon residents file legal malpractice claim

Kelly Holleran Oct. 6, 2010, 4:58am

Two Madison County residents claim they lost the chance to gain at least $100,000 after their attorneys allegedly misrepresented them in a lawsuit filed more than five years ago.

John Criswell and Brenda Macek filed a lawsuit Sept. 29 in Madison County Circuit Court against James Drazen, Edwin Potter and Larry Taliana doing business as Taliana, Rubin and Buckley.

Criswell and Macek claim they hired Drazen to represent them in a lawsuit they filed against their home's seller, developer and others responsible for the construction of their home. The plaintiffs filed the suit because of water infiltration and foundation failures they experienced at their home at 25 Jason in Glen Carbon in June 1995, according to the complaint.

In November 2002, an order of the court disqualified Drazen as an attorney, the suit states. However, Drazen failed to notify the plaintiffs of his disqualification and attempted to refer the matter to other attorneys, who declined representation of Criswell and Macek, the complaint says.

Eventually, Drazen arranged for his colleague, Edwin Potter, to represent Criswell and Macek, they claim. Although Potter did make an appearance at the court on the plaintiffs' behalf, he allegedly performed little other work, according to the complaint.

Subsequent to Potter's work, Drazen found Larry Taliana, who agreed to take on the case, which the court later dismissed, Criswell and Macek claim.

"That despite the efforts of Larry Taliana, the lawsuit was incapable of proceeding and the plaintiffs were unable to secure a recovery in any amount against any of the potentially liable defendants," the suit states. "That the failures of James Drazen to timely prosecute this action and to abide by the time lines established by the court was the reason why the plaintiffs were unable to make a recovery in this case."

The plaintiffs name Taliana as a defendant, saying he negligently failed to timely prosecute the suit, causing it to be involuntarily dismissed.

Had their attorneys successfully prosecuted the case, Criswell and Mack would have been awarded more than $100,000, according to the complaint.

In their three-count complaint, Criswell and Mack seek a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs.

Timothy J. Bates of Belleville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-1007.

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