WINFIELD -– A Putnam County couple alleges their attorney committed legal malpractice in their medical malpractice claims against a disgraced doctor.
James R Carey Jr. and his wife, Peggy L. Carey, filed suit April 12 in Putnam Circuit Court against Frank M. Armada. In their complaint, James, 59, and Peggy, 57, of Hurricane, allege Armada, 69, of Teays Valley, missed the deadline to file a suit against John A. King, a former osteopathic physician, whose multiple acts of mayhem during a six-month period at Putnam General Hospital spawned over 100 lawsuits against him, and the facility.
According to their suit, the Careys hired Armada in March 2005 to file suit against King and PGH arising out of King's mistreatment of James two years earlier. Nineteen months later on Oct. 25, 2006, Armada named PGH, and King -– who by that time changed his name to Christopher Wallace Martin -– as co-defendants in a nine-count civil suit in Putnam Circuit Court
According to the 2006 suit, James checked into PGH's emergency room on March 27, 2003, after fracturing his right ankle. The attending physician informed James his injury required he remain at the hospital, and undergo surgery.
The next day, he underwent an "'open reduction with internal fixation on the right distal fibula.'" He was treated by King, and David McNair, King's assistant.
However, James had to undergo two additional surgeries to remove a syndamotic screw, and another unspecified piece of hardware that was improperly placed in his ankle. The follow-up surgeries occurred on May 16, and Aug. 7, 2003.
In his suit, James made claims against King and PGH for intentional infliction of emotional distress, lack of informed consent, assault and battery, fraud, negligent credentialing/privileging/retention and civil conspiracy. As a direct result of King's malpractice, James stated in incurred at least $19,000 in unnecessary medical bills.
Peggy was named as a co-plaintiff and made a claim for loss of consortium.
However, Judge O.C "Hobby" Spaulding on Nov 7, 2007, dismissed the Carey's suit on the grounds it was filed past the two-year statute of limitations. Spaulding last March denied a motion to reinstate the suit.
The Carey's suit was one of 110 filed against King in late 2006 alleging medical malpractice, and wrongful death during his time at PGH from November 2002 until June 2003. After an additional 12 suits were filed, they were split between Spaulding and then-Putnam Circuit Judge N. Edward Eagloski, and those cases were sealed in June 2007.
Following his move to Alabama, where he was still able to practice medicine, and changed his name to Christopher Wallace Martin citing identity theft, King declared bankruptcy in November 2007 putting all the lawsuits against him on hold. According to the Alabama Board of Medicine, his license was revoked in 2008.
Records show they also denied King's petition for reinstatement of his license in December. Between 2004 and 2006, King, 52, either surrendered or lost his license in West Virginia and eight other states.
In their legal malpractice suit, the Careys state that Armada 'breached his contractual obligations to provide [them] competent legal representation." They seek unspecified damages, attorney fees and court costs.
They are represented by Charleston attorneys Bruce L. Freeman with Freeman and Chiartas, and Richard D. Lindsay with Tabor Lindsay and Associates. The case is assigned to Spaulding.
Putnam Circuit Court case number 06-C-345 (King medical malpractice) and 11-C-108 (Armada legal malpractice)