Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

$5M legal malpractice suit settled for undisclosed amount

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 28, 2015

Michael Nester

A woman’s $5 million legal malpractice lawsuit alleging Belleville attorneys and their firm failed to properly investigate injuries she claims to have sustained while working on a cruise ship has been settled and dismissed.

Associate Judge Randall Kelley filed an order settling the case on June 2 and set a status conference for Aug. 3 at 8:30 a.m.

The settlement follows Kelley’s June 3 order demanding the defendants to appear after they failed to appear at a previous case management conference.

On June 25, Kelley dismissed the case with prejudice and ordered each party to bear its own costs.

Robin Lynne Reinhardt filed her lawsuit on Dec. 19 against attorneys Rodney Thompson and Alvin Paulson and their law firm Becker, Paulson, Hoerner and Thompson in Belleville.

Paulson left the firm last year and it has since been renamed Becker, Hoerner, Thompson and Ysursa.

According to the complaint, Reinhardt claims she hired the defendants to represent her in a lawsuit she intended to file against a passenger cruise ship on which she allegedly sustained injuries while working in September 1996.

She claims the defendants failed to conduct an accurate investigation into Reinhardt’s injuries and into her employer, the suit states.

“But for defendants’ negligence, lack of due diligence, failure to meet the prevailing standard of care and failure to perform as an attorney knowledgeable on Jones Act issues, plaintiff would not have lost her Jones Act negligence claim against her former employer and would have been entitled to damages including all remedies which the Jones Act negligence complaint against her employer would have afforded her,” the complaint alleges.

The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, plus economic damages of at least $3.75 million, plus $1.25 million for past pain and suffering and costs.

The plaintiff is appearing pro se in the case.

Michael J. Nester and Brendan M. Nester of Belleville represent the defendants.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-810

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