A former law client has filed a lawsuit against Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher Jr., alleging he mishandled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against her former employer.

Nancy Hoffman, 27, filed a lawsuit Friday in Scott County District Court against Gallagher, alleging that he failed to file a federal sexual harassment lawsuit in a timely manner, which resulted in the case being dismissed.

According to the lawsuit, Hoffman retained Gallagher and the Gallagher, Millage & Gallagher law firm in Bettendorf to represent her in a federal lawsuit that alleged she was the victim of sexual harassment and retaliation while working at APAC Customer Services in Davenport in the summer of 2010 before she quit her job there.

The lawsuit states Hoffman filed complaints with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Before she could be allowed to file a lawsuit against the company, Hoffman was required to receive “right-to-sue” letters from the organizations.

Hoffman was issued a “right-to-sue” letter from the Iowa commission on Aug. 10, 2011, and from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Sept. 12, 2011. Both letters state that any lawsuit must be filed within 90 days of the issuance of the letter.

Hoffman’s lawsuit claims Gallagher didn’t file her lawsuit in U.S. District Court until Dec. 15, 2011, beyond the 90-period, and that as a result, her case was dismissed.

APAC filed a motion to have the case dismissed two weeks later, citing the failure to meet the 90-day deadline. The case was dismissed in June 2012.

Gallagher said Monday he was aware of the lawsuit.

“We look forward to presenting a full and fair defense to the claim, and we’re hopeful it will be heard,” he said.

Gallagher said he would not comment on the specifics of the claim because it was a pending legal matter. He also said the lawsuit has nothing to do with his duties as mayor.

Representatives of APAC could not be reached for comment.

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Legal malpractice is the term for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of contract by an attorney that causes harm to his or her client. In order to rise to an actionable level of negligence, the injured party must show that the attorney's acts were not merely the result of poor strategy, but that they were the result of errors that no reasonable attorney would make.

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