Man files legal malpractice suit against East Alton attorneys over work comp claim

A man claims two East Alton attorneys with the Galanti Law Office failed to provide witness testimonies during his worker’s compensation hearing, resulting in a ruling in favor of his employer.

Edward Holmes filed a complaint on March 14 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Giambattista Patti and David Galanti, alleging they failed to represent him as a reasonable attorney would under the same or similar circumstances.

According to the complaint, Holmes, of Louisiana, was represented by the defendants in a worker’s compensation claim against his employer CTS before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Prior to his arbitration hearing on March 16, 2016, Holmes alleges he provided the defendants with the names and addresses of witnesses on his behalf who would testify that the claimed accident occurred and that he had timely reported the accident and injury to his employer’s representatives.

Holmes claims the defendants assured him that the witnesses would not be needed at the arbitration. During the hearing, the defendants did not call or introduce depositions of any of the witnesses identified by Holmes. However, witnesses for CTS testified contrary to Holmes’ testimony.

CTS also presented the testimony of Holmes’ fiancée, Carrie Fisher, but did not question her about Holmes’ injury, pain or physical limitations.

On May 2, 2016, the arbitrator ruled in favor of CTS, denying Holmes’ worker’s compensation claim.

Holmes alleges the defendants breached their duty to represent him in the same manner as reasonable attorneys would under the circumstances by failing to call the witnesses he had identified. He also alleges Patti failed to object to inadmissible and irrelevant evidence and testimony that prejudiced his case.

As a result, Holmes’ claim was denied. The arbitrator found that his “described mechanism of injury is not an innocuous event. Instead, it is significant enough that if it occurred, Petitioner would be able to produce a witness in support of his claim.Petitioner claims his accident was witnessed by ‘Richard,’ but no individual by the name of Richard was called to testify on behalf of Petitioner at the time of Arbitration. In fact, no witnesses testified concerning the accident itself on behalf of Petitioner, which causes the Arbitrator to question his credibility.”

The arbitrator further found “it to be significant that Petitioner’s fiancée, Carrie Fisher, offered no testimony whatsoever concerning Petitioner’s reported pain or her observations of his behavior in the timeframe immediately after the alleged accident.”

Concluding that the plaintiff was not credible, the arbitrator held that he was not injured while employed by CTS.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks damages of more than $50,000 for the amount he should have recovered in his worker’s compensation case, plus costs of this action and all further relief as the court deems just and proper.

He is represented by George R. Ripplinger of Ripplinger & Zimmer LLC in Belleville.

This article was first published by Madison – St. Clair Record.

Leave a Reply