Andrew Rubin, Esq.

3 fired administrators sue school district, mayor and lawyer

Legal malpractice is a frequent theme in our Newark Litigation and Appeals Law Blog. This is because when people hire an attorney to protect their interests, they rightfully expect that the attorney will be competent and uphold the standards of the profession. From time to time, an attorney fails to meet these standards, and his or her client then has the right to hold that attorney accountable.

There is currently a case in Pennsylvania involving three top school district administrators who were fired and are now suing the lawyer who advised the district on their termination. The three administrators have claimed that this lawyer conspired with state authorities to violate the due-process rights of those who were fired, in addition to a legal malpractice claim.

The three that were fired were the district's superintendent, deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent. They have argued that the manner in which they were fired was wrongful because their employment contracts and their 14th Amendment rights to due process were violated, as they were not provided notice or a hearing.

The three administrators believe that the mayor and the district's lawyer conspired with members of the board of control, who are appointed by the mayor, to fire the administrators and deny them hearings.

The law firm where the lawyer works is also named as a defendant as is the school district and the city's mayor.

This is a very unique legal malpractice case, as it involves elements of employment law and public institutions. Often legal malpractice claims are filed by a person against his or her own legal counsel. In this case, the plaintiff's are suing the district and a public official as well as the defendant's legal counsel. It remains to be seen how a judge will rule on this case.

Source: Post-gazette.com, "Lawyer must defend himself for malpractice," Saranac Hale Spencer, May 21, 2012

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