Years of litigation may conclude next week, when a malpractice lawsuit filed against a lawyer goes to trial.
The trial for Gary E. Stark, of Anna, Ill., is scheduled to begin Monday at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau, Stark's attorney Jim Spain said.
Pamela Alford of Marble Hill, Mo., hired Stark in 2000 to sue John Lyons Symposiums for breach of contract.
Alford, who promotes celebrity horse trainers, agreed to perform marketing and promotion for a share of Lyons' income. In her lawsuit, filed in Bollinger County, Alford alleged that Lyons owed her in excess of $1 million.
The case was dismissed after Lyons asked the court to take heed of a Colorado court case. Stark filed no response to the dismissal request, then asked the court to reconsider the decision after the dismissal. When Stark failed to seek a hearing on the reconsideration, the motion was dismissed.
Stark also failed to meet deadlines to appeal the dismissal, according to filings from the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Stark continued to tell Alford the appeal was pending, the counsel said.
Stark's license to practice law in Illinois was suspended for 60 days based on his actions in Alford's cases. In 2009, the Missouri Supreme Court suspended his license to practice law in the state for a year.
To successfully sue for malpractice, Alford will have to prove she would have won her underlying case if her attorney had not made a mistake, and that she would have collected on a judgment in the case.
"There will be a lot of evidence offered," Spain said. "How long we take depends on how long John Allan takes."
Allan, a St. Louis attorney, represents Alford in the case.
"Our basis will be that any time you have a legal malpractice case, you have to show that the other case was not a good case," Spain said. "She did not have a good case against the other person."
44. N. Lorimier St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.