Legal malpractice alleged over work comp claim

By Steve Gonzalez | May 7, 2008

Ronald Dahl, Jr. filed a legal malpractice complaint against Kuehnlein & Kuehnlein and Christopher Kuehnlein in Madison County Circuit Court May 1, alleging Kuehnlein breached his fiduciary duty in two workers' compensation cases.

According to Dahl, he was injured in an accident while working for Sears Hardware in Edwardsville on Sept. 4, 2000, and was also injured on Jan. 4, 2001, while working for Olin in East Alton.

Dahl claims he hired Kuehnlein to represent him in both cases which involved injuries to his back.

He claims Kuehnlein did not file a motion to consolidate the two claims for trial and did not request reports or perform depositions from his medical care providers, nor did he retain a medical expert to determine what their opinions would be regarding whether the accidents caused or aggravated his back condition.

Dahl claims Kuehnlein advised him to settle his claim against Sears Hardware without consolidating the cases and without obtaining opinions from medical care providers about the causal relationship of the accidents.

"On the advice of Christopher Kuehnlein, plaintiff signed a settlement contract," the complaint states.

Dahl claims that Kuehnlein owed him contractual and ethical duties of diligent representation and fiduciary duties, but breached those duties when he negligently failed to file a motion to consolidate the two claims prior to the settlement with Sears Hardware and advised him to settle his claim against Sears Hardware for an unreasonable amount.

He claims Kuehnlein's alleged negligence caused him to sustain damages that include lost workers' compensation benefits that he would have received from one or both of his former employers.

Represented by Michael Brunton of Collinsville, Dahl is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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