Injured Woman Sues Top Vermont Energy Regulator For Legal Malpractice
A California woman is suing a member of the state’s Public Service Board for malpractice after he allegedly did not win her a settlement for her personal injury case.
According to documents filed in federal court Nov. 6, Palm Springs resident Denise Chappell suffered permanent injuries from a car accident in Castleton in 2002, when a driver rear-ended her while she was stopped at a crosswalk.
Chappell hired John Burke, who is a self-employed general practice attorney in Castleton in addition to his position on the regulatory board, according to the federal court documents. During an approximate 10-year period when she worked with Burke under a contingent fee agreement, Chappell alleges that he “consistently assured” her that they were close to reaching an agreement with her health insurance company. However, she alleges that Burke committed malpractice because he did not provide “competent legal advice, full and accurate communications,” and that he did not file a lawsuit “within the applicable statute of limitations.” The lawsuit does not mention an explicit amount, but says Chappell is suing for more than the $75,000 threshold required under federal law, and that she is demanding a jury trial. Attorney David Pollock filed the claim on behalf of Chappell, and works for the personal injury firm Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti in Manchester. “The complaint really does speak for itself, and it’s a very unfortunate situation,” Pollock said. He said the statute of limitations on filing a personal injury claim ran out — meaning her rights expired when she did not file a claim in time — and she therefore did not get compensation for what he called serious injuries. “She knew this guy, and she did not know of the statute of limitations,” Pollock said. “This is a very unusual case for us,” he said of his firm. “This was just an especially compelling case because she was injured so bad.” Defendant Burke was unable to be reached for comment last week. Burke declined an interview earlier this month, saying he wanted to wait to see the case before making a public comment. Originally written and posted by Erin Mansfield for the rutlandherald.com. Also posted on the