PHILADELPHIA – A Telford couple are taking their former legal counsel to court, saying their malpractice and negligence caused them to lose out on $100,000 in insurance payout benefits, subsequent to one of the plaintiffs being involved in a major car accident.

Michael Leary and Joan Leary of Telford filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on May 3 versus Gillman & Yockey, P.C. and Davy Yockey, Esq. of Trevose and Steven Gillman, Esq., of Marlton, NJ..

On Oct. 14, 2013, Michael Leary was involved in a motor vehicle accident which caused him to sustain bodily injury and severe post-concussion symptoms. As a result, the plaintiffs retained Gillman & Yockey to represent them in receiving compensation, specifically the services of Davy Yockey. In exchange, Yockey asked the plaintiffs to enter a contingency fee agreement, whereby he would receive a portion of any funds recovered from future litigation.

“During the course of Davy Yockey’s representation of Mr. Leary, he opened insurance claims with four different insurance companies, 21st Century Insurance, Allstate Insurance Company, Atlantic States Insurance and Donegal Insurance Group. The driver who caused the accident was insured with 21st Century Insurance, and the driver’s parents were insured with Allstate. Mr. Leary was insured with Atlantic States Insurance and Donegal Insurance Group,” the suit states.

“At all times relevant hereto, the driver who caused the October 14, 2013, accident resided with her parents in North Wales. Both the driver who caused the accident, and her parents both had auto insurance policies with $100,000 limits. In Pennsylvania, family members who live together and have separate insurance policies can stack their liability policies together.”

The suit adds Mr. Leary’s injuries continued to worsen after the accident and negatively impact his quality of life. In that event, the maximum amount of coverage available from the driver who caused the accident and her parents was $200,000.

But the litigation states that after Yockey opened a claim with the tortfeasor’s parents’ insurance company, Allstate, he failed to respond to their requests for updates – Allstate called for the updates so they could properly evaluate their insured’s liability and pay out the parents’ portion of the claim.

“Instead, Mr. Yockey advised Mr. and Ms. Leary to sign a release of liability for the tortfeasor for an amount of only $100,000, neglecting the additional parents’ policy and foreclosing the opportunity to recover the additional $100,000. After the plaintiffs released the tortfeasor from additional liability, Mr. Yockey proceeded to seek additional compensation from the plaintiffs’ underinsured motorist policy,” according to the lawsuit.

“In Pennsylvania, an underinsured motorist policy is only available after the limits of the tortfeasor’s policies have been exhausted. Plaintiffs’ underinsured motorist coverage is accordingly refusing to pay any money on the claim without having received a full credit of $200,000, even though only $100,000 was paid. As a direct result of the Defendants’ failure to recover the additional $100,000 under the tortfeasor’s parents’ policy, the plaintiffs have now lost $100,000 in available compensation for Mr. Leary’s injury.”

For two counts of legal malpractice-related negligence and breach of contract, the plaintiffs are seeking damages of $100,000, plus costs, delay damages, interest and other damages in this matter.

The plaintiffs are represented by David S. Jaffe, Austin R. Freundlich, Gregory C. Littman and Jonathan D. Rosenau of Freundlich & Littman, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180405116

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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