East St. Louis law firm, attorney seek to dismiss $10M legal malpractice suit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Aug 17, 2018

The East St. Louis law firm Keefe & Griffiths PC argues that a man’s $10 million law suit had been previously dismissed from federal court before he made the same claims in state court.

Indiana resident David A. Milan filed his most recent complaint on March 5 against attorney David W. Plufka and Keefe & Griffiths PC.

According to his complaint, Milan alleges the defendants breached their duty to properly represent him in a worker’s compensation case.

Milan claims Dr. David Woods operated on his left foot on July 7, 2010, following a workplace injury. He alleges he later retained the defendants to handle his worker’s compensation claim. In August 2010, he claims he was asked to sign a contract establishing the defendants as his counsel. However, he alleges the contract says he fell in Mt. Vernon, Ill., when his injury did not take place in the state. He also claims the case was assigned two case numbers.


Plufka  

Milan alleges he was ultimately forced to sign an illegal medical contract.

"For seven years I asked for a copy of this contract. But never received a response, or a copy of the contract. Finally on Aug. 1, 2017, David Plufka sent this unlawful contract. Now I know why he did not want any court to see this fraudulent contract.

“In this matter, I will be showing evidence of the cover-up in my claim, to show this court, not only how critical I was (sic). But how this attorney used my pain to cover up his crimes. Not only is there no date of service, case number or signature on this contract. But there’s no date of service on the contract," the complaint states.

Milan also alleges Plufka never disputed information in his favor and tried to make him take a reduced amount of money.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on July 10 through attorney Corry P. Keilin of Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer PA in Chicago.

The defendants argue that Milan filed a complaint in St. Clair County Circuit Court on March 5, alleging the defendants were retained in August 2010 to pursue a worker’s compensation claim stemming from a fall in Mount Vernon.

The plaintiff also filed three separate complaints against the defendants on Dec. 22, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

In the federal court complaints, Milan alleged he was injured in a fall on March 11, 2009. He claimed he retained the defendants to pursue a worker’s compensation claim after firing his original counsel. While the case was pending, he claimed the defendants "lied, stole and presented a fake document for [him] to sign," the motion to dismiss states.

Milan alleged that he “eventually settled his worker’s compensation claim under ‘duress’ because he was homeless,” the motion to dismiss states.

“The underlying occurrence referenced and pled in plaintiff’s federal court complaints are identical to those now alleged in his state court complaint,” the motion states.

Then on Feb. 14, 2017, Chief Judge Michael J. Reagan granted dismissal, finding that Milan failed to prosecute his case.

The defendants argue that dismissal is also proper in the state court complaint, arguing that “a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction acts as a bar to a subsequent suit between the parties involving the same cause of action.”

The defendants argue that the plaintiff’s complaints allege identical claims, theories and prayers for relief. The federal and state court complaints also name the same defendants.

“These are but a few of the examples of plaintiff’s attempt to re-litigate his dismissal federal court complaints under the guise of a completely new cause of action,” the motion to dismiss states.

The defendants also allege the state court complaint was filed after the applicable statute of limitations, and the allegations do not toll the statute of limitations.

“Defendants deny that they acted in any manner to conceal any information about plaintiff’s claim from him in an effort to allow the applicable statute of limitations to expire before he could file his cause of action. To the contrary, plaintiff arguably timely filed his federal court complaints, which were dismissed more than a year before he filed his state court complaint,” the motion states.

Milan is representing himself pro se.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 18-L-164

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