When someone in New Jersey, or anywhere in the country, hires a lawyer, he or she certainly should expect the lawyer to be both competent and professional.
Unfortunately, some attorneys do not always meet the most basic standards of practice for their profession. Last week, an Illinois woman accused her lawyer of legal malpractice for mishandling her lawsuit and failing to represent her properly.
The woman had hired the lawyer in 2006 to represent her in a personal injury lawsuit against a grocery store in which she had allegedly been hurt by an automatic door.
After filing the suit, the woman said that her lawyer did not conduct discovery, prepare for the trail, or even talk to her about the case - until he contacted her to advise she drop the suit.
The woman, however, believes that the lawyer had already dismissed the case without her permission or knowledge. She argues that the suit was dismissed in January 2009 because her lawyer had failed to pursue it. It was not until February 2010 that her lawyer advised her to dismiss the suit, she claims.
Because of this, the woman missed out on her opportunity to re-file the suit before the statute of limitations ran out. She believes she would have won the case had it been taken to trial and she is now asking for more than $50,000 in punitive damages as well as court costs for the legal malpractice case.
Legal malpractice litigation can be filed in New Jersey for many reasons, including a lawyer missing a deadline or violating a statute of limitations, transactional or trial malpractice, failure to know the law, and failure to follow the client's instructions among other things.
Source: The Record, "Madison County woman claims legal malpractice in suit against St. Louis attorney," Andrea Dearden, Jan. 19, 2012