Woman Loses Malpractice Suit Against Kentucky Law Firm

A Louisville, Ky., jury has rejected claims from a woman who lost a leg in an accident that a law firm committed malpractice in pursuing her claim over the injury.

The jury on Thursday voted 9-3 that Tonia Freeman, who was injured when she impaled her foot on a sliver of wood at a Fort Knox warehouse loaned to Toys for Tots, failed to prove that the foundation that runs the charity had custody and control of the building.

By deciding against Freeman on that question, the case was over.

Freeman had claimed the law firm missed a deadline for filing a $10 million lawsuit.

Gary Weiss, co-counsel for the firm, told The Courier-Journal the case sends a message that “despite what a lot of people think about lawyers, 12 people in the box can listen fairly and find against a plaintiff who is suing her former lawyer”.

Kenyon Meyer, co-counsel for Freeman, said his client would appeal. But Freeman was happy to have the chance to look the firm’s managing partner “in the eye for the first time and tell him her story,” Meyer said.

Freeman alleged the firm dismissed her as a client without telling her about the missed deadline, saying only that “our resources and time restraints do not allow us to go forward any further.” Testimony on that claim would have come only if Freeman had convinced the jury that the Toys for Tots Foundation controlled the building where she hurt her foot.

The case started on Oct. 15, 2004, when Freeman was leaving a dilapidated warehouse at Fort Knox where the charity was storing toys before Christmas. She injured her foot, and the ensuing infection required her to have several toes amputated 10 days later. Eventually, most of her leg had to be removed.

She alleged that after the Army rejected her claim, Becker’s lawyers were negligent and failed to file a lawsuit in time against the Toys for Tots Foundation.

Becker’s lawyers said such a lawsuit wouldn’t have been viable, in part because custody of the building was never officially transferred to the charity.