Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has postponed a legal malpractice trial against the former Hopkins Goldenberg firm from Oct. 13 to Nov. 30.

She granted a motion from the firm's lawyer, Daniel Konicek of Chicago, who advised her he needed to prepare for a trial in Texas starting Oct. 26.

Former client Judy Buckles alleges that the firm, now Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli and Rowland, bungled her asbestos claim.

She sued in 2006, reinstating a suit that all parties had agreed to dismiss without prejudice in 2005.

Lakin Law Firm founder Tom Lakin filed the original suit in 2001.

In the newer complaint, Roy Dripps of LakinChapman alleged that Hopkins Goldenberg lawyers secretly agreed with defendants to settle claims.

Dripps claimed they settled "for amounts of money which were manifestly inadequate and which bore no reasonable relationship to the actual loss sustained by the clients."

He alleged that Hopkins Goldenberg "fabricated, exaggerated, or otherwise manipulated the bookkeeping" and wrongly ascribed costs to Buckles.

Hopkins Goldenberg settled claims in groups without consent of clients, Dripps wrote.

Buckles hired John Simmons of Hopkins Goldenberg in 1999, to represent the estate of her late husband Charles Buckles.

According to Dripps, Simmons left Hopkins Goldenberg and retained her case.

Simmons failed to provide timely and zealous representation, Dripps wrote, causing the value of her claim to diminish.

Dripps sought damages from both Hopkins Goldenberg and Simmons, but Crowder granted summary judgment releasing Simmons from the case.

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