13 CSX workers say Texas firm screwed up their W.Va. cases

By The SE Texas Record | Oct 15, 2009

WHEELING, W. Va.-- Thirteen CSX Transportation workers from North Carolina claim a Texas firm bungled their injury suits in West Virginia.

Their lawyer, Donald Tennant Jr. of Wheeling, alleges legal malpractice against Provost Umphrey of Beaumont, Texas, at U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

Provost Umphrey negligently represented CSX workers pursuing claims for knee and foot injuries in Marshall (W.Va.) Circuit Court, according to Tennant.

Provost Umphrey failed to engage experts, prepare witnesses, and conduct proper discovery, he wrote.

Provost Umphrey failed to investigate injuries and treatment of clients and failed to properly communicate facts and developments to them, he wrote.

Provost Umphrey settled claims for less than their proper value, he wrote.

Tennant seeks to recover the true value of each claim plus damages for annoyance, inconvenience and distress.

Along with the firm he sued Rodney Barnwell, Matthew Matheny, Matthew Willis and Edward Cook as lawyers in the firm.

He also sued the law offices of David Bernsen.

Tennant sued in June but didn't serve summonses until Sept. 28.

The first response came from Cook, apparently no longer at Provost Umphrey.

His lawyer, Margaret Droppleman of Charleston, W.Va., wrote on Oct. 7 that there was no attorney client relationship between him and the plaintiffs in the relevant time.

She identified Cook as a Georgia resident.

On Oct. 14, Michael Garrison of Charleston entered an appearance on behalf of Provost Umphrey and lawyers Barnwell, Matheny, Willis and Bernsen.

District Judge Frederick Stamp presides over the case.

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