Legal malpractice proceedings in New Jersey are quite complicated, and as with any type of civil litigation, it can sometimes be difficult to obtain the monetary award that has been ordered.
One couple who began a personal injury suit in 2002 is still dealing with the aftermath of a legal malpractice suit that ensued. The ordeal began when a car accident in New York left the husband with a herniated disc in 2002, and that injury was further agitated in another accident in 2003.
The couple’s lawyer in this case not only missed the statute of limitations, but reportedly tried to cover his tracks and say that he had not. He told the couple he filed the suit on time, and gave them doctored documents with a false court stamp on them to prove that he had filed on time.
The couple sued this lawyer for legal malpractice and won. An arbitration judge awarded the couple about $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages. However, the difficulties did not end there.
This lawyer was sentenced in 2010 to several years in prison for tax evasion, mail fraud and money laundering. His sons may have taken on his law practice, and the couple thinks that their firm needs to pay them the $1 million award.
The sons, however, contend that they are not responsible and that it is not the same law firm. They say that they have opened their own firm–reportedly with a similar name, in the same location, and with some of the same clients and cases as their father.
The couple has now sued the sons, alleging that they simply changed the name of their father’s firm in order to avoid paying the $1 million legal malpractice award.
Source: The Morning Call, “Couple Sue Karoly brothers over $1 million malpractice award,” Kevin Amerman, Feb. 28, 2012