A company claims it could have avoided going out of business had its lawyer done a better job of defending it in a lawsuit that ended with a $1 million judgment against the business.

Central Illinois Taxi and Anthony Daniele filed a lawsuit Jan. 3 in Madison County Circuit Court against Evans Partnership and Stephen Bruce Evans.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs claim Central Illinois Taxi operated a medical transportation business in which it drove Medicaid participants who were in need of non-emergency medical services. The Department of Public Aid, now known as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services, paid Central Illinois Taxi for the service.

In 2004, the Department of Public Aid notified Central Illinois Taxi that it had overpaid the company $1,610,791.86. It later adjusted the amount to $1,110,992.02. During an administrative hearing, the department’s finding was upheld, according to the complaint.

However, Central Illinois Taxi insisted that the department’s calculations were wrong, arguing that the Department of Public Aid misinterpreted the reimbursement regulations. The taxi service also contended that the guidelines governing the regulations were ambiguous. In turn, Central Illinois Taxi hired Evans to represent it in a lawsuit it filed against the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services, the suit states.

On July 31, 2009, a trial court in Madison County Circuit Court denied Central Illinois Taxi’s motion for a summary judgment, but did grant Evans 14 days to file a supplemental memorandum, the complaint says. However, Evans allegedly failed to filed the requested paperwork, which would have shown evidence of mathematical miscalculations based on audit figures, the plaintiffs claim.

After the trial court again denied the motion for summary judgment, Evans appealed the ruling and requested an oral argument, according to the complaint. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services filed a reply to the appeal to which Evans allegedly failed to reply, the suit states.

The Appellate Court scheduled oral arguments for March 3, 2011, but Evans allegedly waived the oral arguments without discussing his decision with the plaintiffs, the complaint says. In turn, the Appellate Court issued a decision in favor of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services, the plaintiffs claim.

“Had defendants properly filed the supplemental memorandum to Central Illinois Taxi, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment to show evidence of mathematical miscalculations within the 14 days allowed by the trial court, then the trial court would have ruled in favor of Central Illinois Taxi,” the suit states.

As a result of the ruling, Central Illinois Taxi was forced to stop its business. In turn, Daniele claims he lost wages.

In its complaint, Central Illinois Taxi seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs, attorneys’ fees and other relief the court deems just.

Beth C. Boggs and Brent L. Salsbury of Boggs, Avellino, Lach and Boggs in St. Louis will be representing it.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-9.

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