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Why does legal malpractice take place?

When you appoint an attorney to help you with a legal case, it is likely that you trust this professional to take your problems on and solve them for you. A client's relationship with an attorney is one of trust, and this means that attorneys have many responsibilities that they must fulfill. However, in the same light, relationships between attorneys and their clients can be complex. There can be some miscommunications that lead to legal disputes.

If you have had a disagreement with your attorney, or you believe that your attorney has engaged in legal malpractice or misconduct, it is important that you take the time to understand what legal malpractice looks like and how it most commonly occurs.

Network denies stealing idea in intellectual property litigation

Celebrities of the stature of Oprah Winfrey receive thousands of pitches a year, from potential sponsors, want-to-be talk show guests, those with ideas for program segments and book authors. Since creating her network, OWN, Oprah also receives unsolicited pitches from those in New York and across the country who have an idea for a new series. While it may be disheartening for an eager writer to receive a rejection from the OWN staff, it may lead to intellectual property litigation to then see one's idea come to life on the network.

Two writers have filed a copyright lawsuit against Oprah and her network after watching the series "Greenleaf." The TV show depicts the lives of an affluent African-American family who run a mega-church in the South. The writers claim the storyline for "Greenleaf" and many of its particulars are ripped off from a series pitch they made to Winfrey's network in 2014, a concept which the network rejected. Winfrey denies the charges.

Copyright law applied to Lady Liberty stamp dispute

It is always satisfying to artists when others recognize their vision in a work of art. For example, when an artist created a replica of the Statue of Liberty for a resort in another state, he hoped the general public would notice the contemporary, even sexy, changes he made in the statue's image. Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service did not notice those differences when it chose the image for one of its stamps. However, even a mistake can be a violation of copyright law.

In 2011, USPS was looking for a fresh image of Lady Liberty for its new forever stamps, which consumers can purchase for one price and continue to use no matter how often the price of stamps rises. What Postal Service agents thought was a picture of the statue in the New York Harbor was actually a photo of the replica created by a sculpture for a New York-themed casino in Las Vegas. The stamp was released for public use three months before USPS realized they had made a mistake.

Lawyer accused of legal malpractice for forging judge's signature

Clients rely on the honesty, integrity and knowledge of their attorneys during some of the darkest and most stressful times of their lives. The right lawyer on the case can bring peace of mind to someone who is struggling with a legal issue and has no idea how to proceed on his or her own. Nevertheless, there are times when an attorney, in New York or elsewhere, will act unethically or even illegally. This is legal malpractice, and it can jeopardize the outcome of a client's case.

An attorney in another state is facing serious repercussions, including legal charges, after being accused of forging the signature of a judge on one legal document and falsifying emails regarding an expungement report to another client. The attorney allegedly sent the first client a copy of her divorce degree with a judge's signature. When the client contacted the court for answers to questions about her divorce settlement, no record of the divorce was on file, and the judge did not recognize the signature as her own.

Protecting your copyright online: Building a case

It is not always easy to fight copyright infringement, but it is possible. As a business owner, your copyrights are vital to the continued success of your business. You don't want to see other people using your products or creating copies of your products without being penalized or without getting permission from you directly.

For someone who works online, it's a little easier to document suspected copyright and to pursue a claim against someone who has violated your copyright. Here's what you should do to collect evidence for your claim.

Disney faces new claims of intellectual property theft

College is a time to work out new ideas and make plans for the future. Since the atmosphere is often alive with creativity and the campus full of like-minded people, university life may spark many original ideas and give rise to inspirational projects. Far from dismissing those projects as the concepts of an immature mind, many graduates from New York institutions and those around the world find that the finished work is intellectual property worth protecting.

However, one creative director has taken a filmmaking giant to court over the alleged theft of his intellectual property. In a lawsuit filed in another state, the man claims that Disney/Pixar creators used his college screenplay project "Inside Out" as the basis for their 2015 animated release of the same name. In fact, the plaintiff claims Disney/Pixar did very little to alter the original work, including using the same title, plotline and characters.

Fitbit employees face intellectual property litigation

Ten thousand is the minimum number of steps experts say a healthy person should take in a day. For those in New York whose jobs are sedentary, keeping track of those steps has become easier and more fun. Gone are the days when fitness enthusiasts attached bulky pedometers to their ankles or wrists and hoped for a rough estimate of the number of steps they took or miles they covered in a day. Now, more people are strapping sleek and stylish Fitbit devices to their wrists. However, some Fitbit employees are facing intellectual property litigation.

The six employees had previously worked at a rival manufacturer of wearable technology, Jawbone. Jawbone was known as the primary rival of Fitbit after it added fitness wearables to its line of other devices, such as portable music devices and Bluetooth communications. When Fitbit launched its own line of tracking devices, the company allegedly attempted to recruit many of Jawbone's employees.

Did your attorney mishandle your case?

Legal malpractice can happen many ways, all of which are quite serious and deserve direct attention. Whether your attorney dropped the ball in a criminal or civil matter, if it affected your rights or affected you financially, you may have grounds to pursue a legal malpractice claim.

It is important to understand that malpractice does not occur each and every time that you hire an attorney to represent you and a legal matter does not resolve in your favor. If you get pulled over for running a red light and the officer comes to the window of your vehicle to find that you have open containers of alcohol in the vehicle, there are no other passengers, your breath smells like alcohol, and your Breathalyzer results are well over the legal limit, it is unlikely that any attorney could get the resulting criminal charges thrown out, unless there are other factors at play in the interaction.

Proposed changes in copyright law receive mixed reviews

Few in New York will disagree that the rise in popularity of streaming music websites and apps has created confusion and conflict in the realm of copyrights. While the U.S. Congress works to bring copyright law into the modern age, it also seeks to add protections for some musical works that, because of a cutoff point in previous laws, have not fallen under the governance of the laws. This means that the creators of many of those works made before 1972 have had no recourse for protecting their work from indiscriminate use without compensation.

However, a new law called Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society is currently under debate. CLASSICS seeks to provide licensing rights to the owners of music before that cutoff point, allowing them to receive fees from music streaming and other sources just as later works do. The CLASSICS Act is still under consideration and is being met with some resistance by groups who feel it will only raise additional complications.

Victims of legal malpractice seek justice

The relationship between a lawyer and client is one of trust. Because of an attorney's knowledge and experience with the law, a client depends on the attorney to handle complex legal situations. This may be especially true when the clients are the victims of accidents and are in pain or recovering from injuries. If an attorney in New York or any other state breaches that trust through legal malpractice, it can have devastating results for the client.

In another state, numerous victims are learning just how negatively their lives can be affected by the misconduct of an attorney. One woman was shocked to learn that her 64-year-old personal injury attorney had settled her case without her knowledge and allegedly kept the money for himself. When she attempted to confront him, she discovered several other clients who had apparently had similar experiences with the attorney.


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