Jon Campisi Jun. 22, 2012, 7:53am

A Philadelphia man who claims attorneys he hired to represent him in a prior personal

injury case failed to properly identify the appropriate negligent party within the statute of limitations has filed a lawsuit against the same lawyers he had retained in the prior matter.

In his complaint, filed June 19 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Philadelphia attorney Leo M. Flynn of Martins Mill Legal Center, Barry Lewis claims that Marc F. Greenfield and his Philadelphia law firm, Spear, Greenfield & Richman, were negligent in their representation of Lewis stemming from his personal injury case arising out of a December 2009 pedestrian accident.

On Dec. 9, 2009, Lewis suffered a broken leg and back injuries after he was struck by a section of wooden fence that had fallen from atop a stone wall abutting the western sidewalk of the 2200 block of Church Street in Philadelphia, according to the complaint.

In addition to his physical injuries, Lewis subsequently suffered financial loss and emotional distress as a result of the pedestrian accident, as well as mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment and inconvenience, the lawsuit claims.

Soon after the accident, Lewis retained the services of Greenfield and his law firm with the “expectation that defendants would represent him completely and zealously with respect to his personal injury claims,” the suit states.

The defendants subsequently filed a civil action at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court against Frankford Valley Foundation for Literacy and AABCO Auto Parts of Pennsylvania, Inc.

However, Greenfield and his team failed to name the appropriate party at fault in the lawsuit, the new suit claims, namely the correct landowner whose falling fence caused Lewis’ injuries.

“Defendants failed to conduct sufficient discovery and/or investigation pre litigation to uncover the necessary party and prove liability on said party,” the suit states.

The complaint states that the defendants’ alleged failure to deliver “competent levels of representation” led to an arbitration award against one of the improperly named defendants, who failed to appear for the hearing, at which time liability was found to be in favor of the other party.

“Defendants attempted to conceal said failure to deliver competent levels of representation by advising plaintiff not to attend his March 16, 2012 arbitration, as they incorrectly sued the wrong parties and that ‘there was nothing to be done for him,’” the lawsuit states.

Lewis did end up appearing at the defendants’ office for his arbitration hearing, despite being told not to by the defendants.

“Defendants then informed plaintiff of the results of the arbitration: an award against a non appearing defendant with no liability and no connection to the accident whatsoever, and congratulated him for same,” the suit states.

The complaint goes on to state that the defendants were advised to appeal the award, as not doing so could potentially limit Lewis’ claims against them, “thus rewarding defendants for their negligent conduct.”

The suit claims that Greenfield and his team ignored Lewis, at which time Lewis was forced to obtain new counsel to enter his appearance in the underlying matter, to which an appeal was filed.

The lawsuit contains counts of negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty against Greenfield and his law firm.

Lewis demands damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs and delay damages.

An arbitration hearing has been scheduled for early next year.


The case ID number is 120602279. 

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