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Baptiste & Wilder, a union-side labor firm and longtime outside counsel to the Teamsters, is having a bit of labor trouble of its own. Last year the firm was hit with a malpractice suit by former client Martha Lockwood, whom the firm represented in a wrongful-termination suit in the mid-1990s. Lockwood alleges attorneys Robert Baptiste and Patrick Szymanski failed to follow up on a lawsuit for defamation against her former supervisors and neglected to tell her that the case had been dismissed. Lockwood, who hired attorney Christopher Hoge of Crowley, Hoge & Fein, is seeking $1.5 million in damages. Eccleston & Wolf attorney Alfred Scanlan, who is representing the firm, denies the charges. But the firm’s insurance company is already refusing to foot the bill. In filings last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co., represented by Carr & Maloney attorney William Carter, says the alleged activity is not covered under its policy and accuses Baptiste & Wilder of failing to bring the claims to the company’s attention in a timely manner. The company cited three letters Lockwood filed in 2002 inquiring about her case as evidence that the attorneys had a “reasonable basis” to anticipate their acts “might be the basis of a claim prior to the inception of the Policy.”
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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