Legal malpractice when a lawyer files suit against wrong company

When a New York family loses a loved one in a horrific accident, they typically have a great deal on their minds in the days and weeks following the accident. There are family members and friends to contact, funeral arrangements to make and personal emotions to deal with. When the question arises of seeking potential compensation from those allegedly liable for the accident, many families leave that in the hands of a capable lawyer. However, one family in another state may now be adding filing a legal malpractice lawsuit to the list of things they have to do.

A 44-year-old man died in an explosion on an oil and natural gas rig where he was contracted to perform cleaning and maintenance on the pipes. Apparently, the owner of the rig subcontracted this work to two different companies. As with many oil and gas rig explosions, this one became high-profile. Some personal injury attorneys rush to solicit victims and families affected by such accidents for what they hope will be substantial payouts. One attorney with a successful record of such awards contacted the family of the deceased man and was hired to represent them.

In his apparent haste to file the lawsuit, he apparently named the wrong companies as defendants. Of the two subcontracting companies named in the lawsuit, one has never be affiliated with the owner of the rig, and the other may not even exist. The attorney admits he did not verify the second-hand information he used to file the lawsuit. Additionally, the lawyer seems to have ignored the widow's request to wait before filing the lawsuit as well as her instructions to dismiss it.

Unfortunately, there are too many instances of New York lawyers who put their own personal interests ahead of the well-being of their clients. When a lawyer acts unethically or makes serious mistakes in the preparation and filing of a lawsuit, the victim may feel reluctant to turn to another attorney for help in filing a legal malpractice suit. However, an attorney who is devoted to holding others of his profession accountable for their negligent actions may offer peace of mind.

Source: chron.com, "Big-name lawyer apparently sues wrong companies", L.M. Sixel, Nov. 10, 2017

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