Law firm sued for alleged malpractice in pre-Hurricane Katrina slip and fall case

By Lizzy Fitzsousa | Apr 4, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A local law firm is being sued by a former client who claims the firm ignored her case until it was dismissed.

Marie Ekpema filed suit against Melvin N. Cade, Louis A. Gerdes Jr. and Louis A. Gerdes Jr., a Professional Law Corporation in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Jan. 21.

The suit alleges that Ekpema had contracted with the defendants to represent her in a lawsuit against the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. This suit was related to a May 13, 2004 incident, in which Ekpema slipped and fell into an uncovered meter hole near 2658 Athis St. in New Orleans.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Ekpema moved to Kingwood, Texas. She continued to contact the defendants, who allegedly failed to keep her informed as to the status of her claim despite office visits, telephone calls and written correspondence. She states that she was informed repeatedly that her action for damages had not been dismissed but was still proceeding.

On Jan. 28, 2013, Ekpema visited New Orleans, and unable to contact the defendants, she went to the clerk’s office of the Orleans Parish Civil Distrct Court to review the status of her claim. She found it had been dismissed on Jan. 31, 2012 in response to a motion filed by the attorney for the Sewerage and Water Board since no party had taken any action in the furtherance of the prosecution or defense for over three years. The last action taken had been Jan. 26, 2009.

Ekpema issuing for damages including loss of verdict, settlement or award and interest and costs plaintiff would have received but for the negligence of defendants and psychological and emotional pain and distress.

Plaintiff is represented by attorney Daniel J Mackel Jr. of New Orleans.

Case is assigned to Division F Judge Christopher J. Bruno.

Case no. 2014-00729.

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