A Mississippi woman is seeking a $3 million judgment from the lawyers who allegedly lost the money in her now defunct harassment suit.
In her complaint, the plaintiff says she hired the defendant law firm to represent her in her in a harassment suit against the doctor who previously employed her. The defendant attorneys obtained a final default judgment in the amount of $3 million against the doctor, who later filed for bankruptcy. The plaintiff alleges she did not receive payout from the judgment because her lawyers failed to file a claim in a bankruptcy proceeding.
“Although Defendants were aware that (the doctor) and certain of his affiliated entities had filed for bankruptcy relief, Defendants failed to properly preserve Plaintiff’s claims by failing to take the procedural and substantive steps necessary to protect her claims in the various bankruptcy proceedings ….,” the suit states.
It’s impossible to evaluate the merits of a lawsuit from the plaintiff’s allegations alone. Take note of the attorney judgment rule, which states:
Your attorney will not be held liable for legal malpractice if that attorney acted in good faith, but in hindsight was able to see errors in judgment.
The attorney judgment rule protects your attorney if mistakes were made, so long as the mistakes were not of a negligent or fraudulent nature. Legal malpractice is more than a simple error in judgment. A successful attorney malpractice action requires proof of either willful attorney misconduct or negligence, that the lawyer misconduct or attorney negligence was the cause of damage to the client, and that the damages were sufficiently substantial to justify a court action.
As for this particular case, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Michael Louis Minns is a Houston-based attorney who handles complex tax matters and professional malpractice cases, with a concentration in criminal tax defense. He is the author of two popular books on his trial work, The Underground Lawyer and How to Survive the IRS. If you have questions about a legal malpractice case or a complex tax matter please contact Minns & Arnett for a consultation.