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How Do Legal Malpractice Claims Work

How Do Legal Malpractice Claims Work? In bringing a claim for legal malpractice (professional liability), you have to show that your attorney was negligent in the handling of your case. There are a few basic components to take into account. First, you have to show that your attorney owed you a duty of care. This is often reflected by your representation or engagement agreement. However, it could also be evidenced through an implied promise such as your attorney verbally agreeing to perform a legal service that was not specified in your legal agreement. Secondly, you have to show that your attorney breached this duty of care, which can be demonstrated through the attorney’s failure to use the care, skill or diligence that other attorneys would have used in a given situation. Say, for example, that an attorney failed to bring your claim within the statute of limitations or had failed to meet a court-imposed deadline. Perhaps your attorney was ignorant of the laws in your case or had misrepresented information relating to your situation. These are things that you would not expect from other attorneys, but instead clear mistakes. However, what if your attorney did not rely upon certain evidence in a case which was available to him, or he had taken aggressive steps in litigation which created additional costs or perils for you? It is possible that these decisions could have been made for a legitimate purpose. Your attorney’s rationale might be considered the norm by other attorneys who are in the profession. So, it is not always clear whether the attorney’s failures amount to a breach. The devil is in the details. Thirdly, you must show that you would have received a more favorable outcome if not for your attorney’s actions – or lack thereof. In order to demonstrate this, the original case is essentially re-litigated to determine errors which could have caused you to incur an unfavorable or abnormal outcome. This necessitates a meticulous review by an attorney who is experienced with legal malpractice cases especially since each case is very fact-specific. Finally, if you obtain compensation or otherwise prevail to some degree in your case, you could still bring a lawsuit alleging legal malpractice based upon allegations that your compensation or relief would have been better had it not been for your attorney’s actions. For example, your attorney’s missteps or unveiling of facts could cause opposing counsel to lower their settlement offer. If you take that reduced settlement offer in fear of losing your case at trial, then you might lose out on a lot of compensation in the settlement. If your attorney is to blame for this, then you could sue them for legal malpractice. Legal Malpractice Attorneys To The Rescue When attorneys make careless and unacceptable mistakes leading to a less than desirable outcome for you, holding them accountable for their legal malpractice is often times the only way forward. However, legal malpractice claims can be confusing, difficult and hard to prove given the numerous grey areas in the law. Most importantly, legal malpractice cases could fall apart when they are taken on by attorneys who are not well versed on bringing malpractice cases or who do not have trial experience. The level of legal expertise can impact the amount of money that you receive in your case. William F. McMurry, who has four decades of experience fighting for clients’ rights in malpractice cases, is the only attorney who is Board Certified as a legal malpractice and medical malpractice trial specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in Kentucky, Florida and North Carolina. If your attorney caused you to have a bad result in your legal matter, reach out to William F. McMurry & Associates at (502) 326-9000 and consult with our experienced counsel today….

Suing Your Attorney For Legal Malpractice

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that your attorney was negligent when representing you in your legal matter. Although attorneys are supposed to adhere to strict ethical standards while protecting the rights of their clients, in reality, some attorneys fall short – way short – in providing effective legal services. This could cause you to permanently lose your case, your money, and even your rights. Notably, a recent legal drama summarized below highlights incidents of potential attorney malpractice where clients alleged that their attorneys’ litigation antics cost them millions. Here’s more on what led to that tragedy and what you can do if you are a victim of legal malpractice. Clients Sue Their Lawyers For Legal Malpractice, Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Evidently, on May 14, 2020, New Jersey based marketing companies Telebrands Corp. (who created the “As Seen On TV” logo) and Bulbhead.com, LLC  brought a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey against law firm Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF) as well as its founder, David Boies, and partner, Michael Underhill, alleging that they had engaged in legal malpractice and had violated their fiduciary responsibilities when litigating intellectual property disputes against Tinnus Enterprises and Zuru Limited over competing water balloon products. It all started in 2015 when Telebrands was sued by Tinnus and Zuru because Telebrands’ use of Balloon Bonanza had seemingly infringed on a patent which Tinnus and Zuru were pursuing for its product, Bunch O Balloons. Once the patent was approved, Tinnus took aim at Telebrands in a Texas lawsuit in which Tinnus alleged patent infringement. Telebrands was subsequently ordered to stop selling Balloon Bonanza in 2015. This is clearly not the “bonanza” that Telebrands was envisioning when going to market with their product. In came attorneys Boies and Underhill, who supposedly steered Telebrands towards creating Battle Balloons, a product which was – in their view – somehow able to allow Telebrands to steer clear of infringing on a patent Tinnus held. It seems that Boies and Underhill were so confident in their position that they quelled concerns raised by retailers of patent infringement exposure. Allegedly, the attorneys even recommended that Telebrands agree to indemnify retailers if they were sued for patent infringement. Telebrands, Bulbhead Ordered To Pay Approximately $30,000,000 In Damages BSF’s legal strategy was apparently an utter failure, as in 2016 a judge entered an injunction which basically disallowed future Battle Balloon sales. Not only that, but a subsequent injunction was entered against Telebrands based upon allegations that it committed patent infringement via its other product, Easy Einstein Balloons – the basis of another lawsuit that Tinnus brought against Telebrands. In 2017, a Texas jury found in favor of Tinnus. Telebrands and Bulbhead were ordered to pay more than $12,000,000 in compensation between lost profits, royalties and other infringement damages. Even worse, in 2019, a court ordered Telebrands and Bulbhead to pay $12,000,000 in sanctions (enhanced damages) plus almost $5,000,000 in attorney’s fees and costs based upon allegations of their unreasonably aggressive representation. According to the judge, attorneys for Telebrands and Bulbhead filed motions and appeals in an excessive and unreasonable manner causing unnecessary delays that placed serious burdens on their adversaries. Boies, Underhill Allegedly Causes Telebrands, Bulbhead To Pay Millions In Extra Damages BSF attorneys were accused in the legal malpractice suit of causing Telebrands and Bulbhead to pay millions in damages that they would not have had to pay if it wasn’t for BSF’s aggressive and disruptive tactics which included rehashing settled positions and changing course with its defensive strategy at the last minute. In addition, BSF was accused of failing to properly advise the plaintiffs given the erroneous assurances Telebrands had been provided regarding the risk of ongoing litigation resulting from its sales of redesigned products. Telebrands also indicated that it was not told about the legal risks or costs relating to Boies’ and Underhill’s strategy. This legal malpractice case is…

Boy Scout Abuse Victims Please Take Notice

Time is running out to bring your claim for compensation against the BSA Survivors of all types of abuse, committed by scout leaders, counselors and fellow scouts have until 5 p.m. Nov. 16, 2020 to file a claim for compensation  against the Boy Scouts of America to be eligible for compensation through the organization’s bankruptcy proceedings. If you are a survivor of abuse you must file your claim before by 5 p.m. November 16, 2020 or you will be barred from filing suit against the national organization in the future. Even if you think you do not have a valid claim due to how long ago the abuse occurred, you should consider filing a claim.  Regardless of the State where the abuse occurred you should consider discussing your claim with a lawyer skilled in handling such delicate legal matters. In addition to the Boy Scouts, the Scouting groups also included are:  Explorer  Venturing programs Sea Scouting and  Cub Scouts. What types of abuse will be considered in any claim? Sexual abuse physical abuse emotional abuse bullying or hazing Claims will not be public and will not be released to the media.  I have represented hundreds of survivors of child sexual, physical and emotional abuse, including boys, now grown men, who survived abuse by priests employed by the Catholic Church.  I know your pain and how it has followed you throughout your life.   It is a big step to come forward and acknowledge the pain you have endured.  Many survivors live their lives without ever sharing their experience with anyone.  I know.  I have met and spoken privately with over one thousand survivors of all types of sexual, physical and emotional abuse When abuse occurs to a child, the child knows only to blame themselves for what happened.  No amount of denial or intellectualizing what occurred allows for the healing to begin. Drawing from my experience, I feel that healing truly begins when a survivor of abuse steps into the light, points the finger at the cause of his or her pain and finally stops blaming him or herself for the abuse.  Charles Dickens captured the magnitude of harm to a child:  “In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice.” Let your healing begin.  CALL to discuss your pain and allow me the honor of representing you through this compensation process.  William F. McMurry at…

USE OF ZOOM by lawyers to conduct client interviews and conferences with consulting experts

While COVID-19 requires lawyers to become creative in our effort to move our clients cases along, in keeping with our ethical duty to zealously represent our clients, it is critical to remember that such conversations may not be considered “confidential.”   When we speak with a client or a client’s agent, such as a consulting expert, those conversations are considered confidential and protected from disclosure to our adversaries.   While Zoom is an excellent tool for conducting group meetings, such as mediations and the like, which do not raise confidentiality or protection issues, using Zoom to conduct client interviews and interviews with consulting experts can be viewed as discoverable.  We all know that if we allow a non-client and/or non-client expert to listen in on an otherwise confidential communication, we have violated the attorney client confidentiality and attorney client privilege.   Unless you select certain settings in the Zoom settings, all meetings are recorded and stored in the Cloud.  Zoom meetings are also publicly accessible with full names and faces are often displayed.  Preventing Zoom from making a permanent record or storing it in such a way as to make the meetings publicly accessible is a feature that can be turned on in settings. There are other settings in the Meeting subtab that can also be adjusted, such as disallowing remote control of devices, file transfer, data sharing with Zoom, and screen sharing. Below are suggested setting: Please note that most, if not all, of the settings below are not the Zoom default: Go to: Settings > Recording and click off the Local and Cloud recording features. In the Zoom Settings section, under the Meeting subtab: Require Encryption for Third Party Endpoints Disable Auto saving chats Disable File transfer Disable Feedback to Zoom Disable Screen sharing Disable desktop/screen share for users Disable Remote control   In the Zoom Settings section, under the Recording subtab: Disable Local recording Disable Cloud recording Disable Automatic recording I hope this has been helpful to all my colleagues who are enjoying Zoom in the everyday practice of law.     William F….

Church Continues to Hide and Protect Known Serial Pedophiles

In 2004, I filed – and successfully won, a lawsuit against the Vatican, designed to overcome its arguments that it could not be held accountable for acts by pedophile priests occurring on US. soil.  This was done following the litigation and settlement of a case with the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY.  Because of our work, the Vatican is not immune from suits by US survivors of priest sexual abuse of children.  But the Louisville Courier Journal’s stunning revelation this past week of yet another situation demonstrates that the Church continues to hide and protect its known serial pedophiles over the interests of the children of the Church.  Rather than having the interests of the children of the Church at heart, it appears that the children remain at grave risk.  The LCJ’s article reveals the Church’s suggestion that there are “no child-victims coming forward to accuse Father Mouser of sexual assault while he was hiding in Motherhouse in Loretto, Kentucky.”  This ignores the science behind abuse.  Children don’t come forward. It is found that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years.  (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007) It is not for decades that children have grown to see the impact the abuse has had on their lives that they feel compelled to report the abuse.  In the article, I am quoted as saying “After all of the ensuing years since the settlement with the archdiocese, it is heartbreaking that the church leaders continue to demonstrate that they have not lived up to their promises to protect the community’s children from known serial pedophiles.” I have been an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by the Church since the first victim walked through my office in 2002.  I will continue to advocate, vindicate and fight for those who have been left behind by the Church.   With that said, it is important to realize that the statute of limitations on a civil claim against the Church runs out on the child’s 28th birthday, barring justice…

Letter to My Hometown, an Abuse Survivor’s Validation

Extensive experience in representing survivors of sexual abuse is not something an attorney takes lightly. It means that said attorney has gained the trust of sexual abuse survivors who are hurt, who carry often years of baggage, who seek validation and are in need of an advocate.  Over the years, I have often been the first person survivors of sexual abuse have opened up to because they have come to me to help them with their many legal questions. Sometimes it starts with the question  “do I have a case after all these years.”  And that begins our attorney/client relationship. I am honored when a previous client reaches out to me, sometimes years later, to share their personal life experiences and their gratefulness for my guidance.  Such is the case with Laura.  She came to me for advice.  I have been given express permission to share publicly this client’s voice as expressed in her writings. She has done this with the intention to help other survivors. Following is a link to her full letter, titled, Letter to my…

Legal Malpractice Thoughts for 2020

Since 2011, the number of claims against lawyers which resolved by the accused lawyer’s paying the aggrieved client in the range of between $1 million and $5 million has increased by 940%.

High-Speed Police Car Chases Wreck Cars and Lives

In 2008 I represented the family of three brothers who were tragically killed in a high speed police chase returning home from a Christmas pageant. The wreck resulted in four young boys losing their lives. While the Louisville Metro PD (LMPD) had recently established a stricter policy regarding the protocol used in high speed police car chases, I was able to show that they did not follow the “new” safer policy and won the case.