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 ongoing.