Former Sharky's owner claims legal malpractice

Amelia Flood Jan. 19, 2011, 7:30am


Gary Lutman, a former owner of Sharky's tavern in Maryville, is suing attorney John Leskera for allegedly botching his lawsuit against the village and its police department last year.

The plaintiff sued Maryville, Mayor Larry Gulledge and Maryville Police Chief Richard Scharden blaming the defendants for allegedly arresting him on a trumped up trespassing charge instigated by his ex-wife Sherry Lutman in May 2006.

The 2009 lawsuit was dismissed in March 2010 by Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis due to statute of limitations concerns.

Callis told Leskera at that hearing, "I don't see how you can get around the statute of limitations, Jack."

Gary Lutman filed his suit against Leskera on Jan. 14 claiming violations of his federal civil rights, negligent handling of the 2009 lawsuit and failure by the Collinsville attorney to file a timely appeal stemming from another one of Gary Lutman's legal matters.

Gary Lutman's 2009 lawsuit against the Maryville defendants relates to his arrest on trespassing charges and a business dispute with his ex-wife and business partner, Sherry Lutman.

The Lutmans divorced in 2001. They continued to operate the bar together until 2006.

At that time, Sherry Lutman and another business partner removed Gary Lutman from his position and barred him from the premises.

A restraining order was later entered against him.

Lutman was later arrested in 2006 on trespassing charges.

The charges were dropped.

He contended in the 2009 lawsuit that he was arrested solely on his ex-wife's say-so.

A separate lawsuit over Gary Lutman's exit from the business was filed as well.

Sherry Lutman and Richard Gibson were named as defendants in that case.

According to the complaint, at one point, Leskera represented Gary Lutman in the business-related lawsuit.

That representation began in 2007.

The matter eventually required an appeal, according to the plaintiff.

In Lutman's present suit, he claims that Leskera's alleged failure to file a timely appeal resulted in the case being dismissed. Lutman claims the case would have prevailed on appeal.

He alleges Leskera assured him his appeal was "a winner."

The appeal was dismissed by the Fifth District Appellate Court due to a lack of a supporting brief.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and costs per each of its two counts.

Roy Dripps represents Lutman in the suit against Leskera.

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian presides.

The case is Madison case number 11-L-031.

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