Articles Tagged with Legal Malpractice

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Source: MCZ DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. DICKINSON WRIGHT, PLLC, Dist. Court, ND Illinois 2015 – Google Scholar

This case involves allegations that the law firm (Dickinson Wright) committed legal malpractice in connection with work on a proposed “Indian casino project” in Oklahoma.

During the representation Plaintiffs requested that the law firm “to provide an opinion on any issues that might preclude the proposed gaming project from successfully moving forward.”

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O’KELLYN v. Dawson, 2013 PA Super 25 – Pa: Superior Court 2013 – Google Scholar.

This is a case where a lawyer was accused of legal malpractice for failing to properly document a settlement of a divorce case. The settlement related to an award of maintenance. The parties agreed on a certain amount. The lawyer did not draft up the papers and obtain the signature of the other spouse. As a result, the court entered a maintenance award that was substantially greater than the agreed upon amount.

The client was unhappy because he was required to pay far more maintenance than he agreed to pay. He sued the lawyer and, after a jury trial, obtained an award of damages in the amount of $100,363.64.

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Every year, when I receive my legal malpractice insurance application, there is always a question on whether I am an officer or director of an outside entity.

In this case, one member of the law firm was involved in an outside entity, a corporation, American Gulf Insurance, LLC, that allegedly fraudulently induced certain investors to invest in the company. The plaintiffs, in the underlying case, sued the law firm for fraud and legal malpractice. The plaintiffs alleged that the lawyers negligently advised them to invest in the entity. Howard Fensterman, one of the name partners of the law firm, was allegedly an owner of American Gulf Insurance. Fensterman allegedly had more than a passive role in the entity.

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Excess Insurer Can Bring Legal Malpractice Claim Against Lawyer

ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE CO. v. SANDBERG, PHOENIX & VON GONTARD, PC., Dist. Court, SD Illinois 2012 – Google Scholar.

This is a dispute between an insurer and the lawyers who were hired to defend a case. Illinois has recognized that an insurance company has a right to sue defense counsel for malpractice. Illinois has never decided whether to allow an excess insurer to bring such a lawsuit.

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Lawyer prevails in dispute with malpractice insurer in legal malpractice case

Foster v. WESTCHESTER FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, Dist. Court, WD Pennsylvania 2012 – Google Scholar.

This is a dispute between a lawyer and his legal malpractice insurer. One of the major trends in recent years is the coverage lawsuit filed by the insurance company against the lawyer.  Legal malpractice insurance is usually purchased for a one-year period.  The insurer agrees to indemnify and defend the insured against any and all claims arising in that year and only that year.   The policies are known as “claims made” policies, which means the insurance company must receive the claim during the policy period or there is no coverage.

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Immigration Malpractice

Miranda v. Said, Iowa: Court of Appeals 2012 – Google Scholar.

This is an unusual case – legal malpractice in the immigration setting.  Plaintiffs won a verdict at the trial but appealed on the grounds that the trial court wrongfully barred their claims for mental distress damages, punitive damages and lost chance damages.

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Harkins v. Paxton, Mich: Court of Appeals 2012 – Google Scholar.

This is a legal malpractice case. Plaintiffs (referred to as “the Judges”)  claimed that they lost an underlying case (a Section 1983 action) because of the negligence of their attorney.  The attorney, who was retained by an insurance company, moved to dismiss on the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing.  He argued that there was no attorney-client relationship, apparently because he was retained by the insurance company.

The trial court granted the motion, but the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed.  It explained:

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Legal Malpractice Case From North Carolina

Royster v. McNamara, 723 SE 2d 122 – NC: Court of Appeals 2012 – Google Scholar.

This is a legal malpractice case arising out of a litigation matter.  The plaintiff, Royster, was a defendant in the underlying case, a fraud case.

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Insurance coverage dispute

Goodman v. MEDMARC INS., 2012 Ohio 4061 – Ohio: Court of Appeals, 8th Appellate Dist. 2012 – Google Scholar.

This case involves an insurance coverage dispute. The lawyer was the policyholder and he was sued for legal malpractice. An Ohio court has ruled in favor of an attorney who tendered a claim to his carrier but was denied coverage.  Such litigation is common. The risk to the lawyer is that he ends up litigating two cases (a) the underlying malpractice case; and (b) the declaratory judgment case against the insurer.

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Cullinan v. FEHRENBACHER, Ill: Appellate Court 2012 – Google Scholar.

This case alleges malpractice.  It  is unusual because the defendants moved for a stay of the case.  A stay stops the proceedings dead in their tracks.  The defendants filed this motion because the alleged malpractice arose out of estate planning and the plaintiff was a party to other lawsuits (with family members and other heirs) involving that estate planning.  The Court held that it had appellate jurisdiction over the motion for a stay of proceedings.

The Appellate Court held that the trial court properly denied the motion for stay of proceedings.

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