The owners of a construction company have filed suit against their former attorney, claiming she was representing buyers and sellers of a quarry without revealing her role in the transaction.
Eugene and Margaret Lippold, who own Lippold Construction Company, allege they wanted to sell a quarry in Alton known as Alby Quarry. In the sale of the quarry, the Lippolds elected to hire defendant Katherine Smith to represent them, according to the complaint filed March 1 in Madison County Circuit Court.
In March of 2010, the Lippolds found Aura Contracting, a company that was interested in purchasing the property, the suit states. Smith negotiated a contract for the sale of the property, which was signed on May 26, 2010, the complaint says. In the contract, the buyer is named as GP Material.
Soon thereafter, GP Material began operating the quarry and sought the necessary permits to utilize it as a landfill, the Lippolds claim. Meanwhile, the Lippolds filed a complaint for injunction and other relief asking the court to prevent GP Material from operating the quarry. In their complaint, the Lippolds also sought to recover the quarry, saying GP Material had breached its contract, the suit states.
GP Material fought back, filing a complaint on June 17, 2011, alleging fraud against the Lippolds and legal malpractice against Smith. In its complaint, GP Material accused Smith of representing both the buyers and sellers of the quarry without notifying either side of her role in the transaction. The company also blamed Smith for failing to properly transfer the property to GP Material.
The Lippolds claim they had remained unaware throughout the sale of the quarry that Smith was representing both them and GP Material. Now, they are accusing her of a number of negligent actions, including failing to match the legal description of the proposed land to the legal description of the real estate, which led to the lawsuit against the Lippolds.
As a result of Smith’s alleged actions, the Lippolds claim they incurred legal costs in an attempt to recover equipment from GP Materials and unknowingly sold the quarry to a company without sufficient capital to operate the quarry. This led to an inability to fulfill the terms of the contract, causing the Lippolds to lose money, according to the complaint.
In their complaint, the Lippolds are seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
George R. Ripplinger of Ripplinger and Zimmer in Belleville will be representing them.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-352.