Woman sues Goosmann Law Firm of Sioux City, malpractice attorneys

SIOUX CITY — A woman who says her lawsuit against a plastic surgeon was dismissed because her attorneys missed a filing deadline has sued them and a Sioux City law firm for malpractice and negligent misrepresentation.

Jessica McHugh says in her lawsuit that the Goosmann law firm’s “exaggerated” claims about its lawyers’ health law experience on its website led her to choose them to represent her in her lawsuit for medical malpractice against former Sioux City plastic surgeon Adam Smith. McHugh’s lawsuit also says Goosmann’s attorneys, Joel Carney and William Hale, failed in their duties of “skill, prudence and diligence which attorneys of ordinary skill and ability generally possess” by filing an affidavit over four months after the date on which it was due.

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District Judge Patrick Tott cited the missed deadline in his 2020 decision dismissing the lawsuit, a decision later upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

The dismissal, McHugh said, prevented her from recovering damages from Smith and her then-employer, Tri-State Specialists.

In a response to the lawsuit, the firm, Carney and Hale deny McHugh’s allegations, saying they acted in good faith and believed they were following the law while representing it.

“The defendants exercised reasonable professional judgment in the performance of their duties and, as such, should not be held liable to the extent that (McHugh’s) allegations impugn that independent professional judgment,” Alexander Wonio said. , a Des Moines attorney representing the firm and attorneys. his response to the trial.

McHugh, of Sergeant Bluff, sued Smith and Tri-State, claiming the surgeon botched his 2017 plastic surgery, resulting in infections in his surgical wounds requiring hospitalization and additional operations to correct the damage.

While seeking legal representation for a medical malpractice lawsuit, McHugh visited the website of law firm Goosmann, which said its lawyers know and understand health care law.

“With a background in healthcare and litigation, Goosmann attorneys are ready to take on any litigation challenge,” the website states.

McHugh retained Carney and Hale, who filed the lawsuit in Woodbury County District Court in August 2019. Smith and Tri-State filed a response a month later, starting the countdown to a 60-day deadline. days for McHugh’s attorneys to provide the court with a certificate. affidavit of merit for their expert witness. Due November 24, 2019, the affidavit was not filed until February 7, 2020 – 136 days after the deadline, leading to the defense motion to dismiss which was granted by Tott.

That failure to meet the deadline was a dereliction of duty, McHugh’s current attorneys, Ryland Deinert and Timothy Clausen, both of Sioux City, said in his lawsuit.

“The Goosmann law firm appears to have exaggerated its trial experience and medical malpractice experience in order to lure and induce clients,” the lawsuit states.

McHugh is seeking a judgment awarding him an undetermined amount of damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement and legal fees.

Smith, who now lives in Minnesota, was sued for malpractice by a number of other Sioux City-area patients and later surrendered his Iowa medical license to resolve the charges of professional incompetence and unethical conduct. A Michigan federal judge also ordered Smith to pay more than $236,000 in damages and penalties for filing dozens of fraudulent health insurance claims while practicing in Michigan before moving to Sioux City. .

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