When New Yorkers reach out to an attorney, it is usually because they are in trouble and/or facing some sort of legal difficulty. They may be accused of a crime that could result in years behind bars, or they may be dealing with a financial crisis due to an injury due to an accident or medical malpractice. The client trusts that the attorney has the skill and integrity to bring about a fair and positive resolution whenever possible. Unfortunately, a small number of unscrupulous attorneys put their own interests ahead of the client, sometimes taking advantage and committing legal malpractice.
In another state, one such attorney has just faced his day of reckoning. The news stories portray the man like a villain in a melodrama, helping orphans and disabled people to reach high settlements in court cases, then embezzling the money from them. In one case, parents had established a $1 million life insurance policy to care for their children in case of the parents' demise. When an accident took the lives of the parents, the attorney, who was hired to distribute the policy benefits, kept the money for himself.
The court heard from people who never received their inheritances despite the fact that their deceased parents had done solid estate planning through the now-disbarred attorney. Some families related winning medical malpractice lawsuits with the help of the attorney. For one woman, the $2 million award from such a lawsuit was meant to provide medical care after a birth injury left her a quadriplegic. She never received any of the money and now survives on government assistance.
After hearing the man's guilty plea, a judge recently sentenced the former attorney to 16 to 40 years in prison. He is also expected to pay back the $16 million he is accused of stealing from his many victims. While this may be an extraordinary case, others in New York may have suffered from the unethical or incompetent actions of their attorneys. These victims of legal malpractice have the right to seek justice by contacting an attorney who has experience holding other professionals financially accountable for legal malpractice.
Source: news3lv.com, "Local disbarred attorney receives maximum sentence after stealing from clients", Kyndell Nunley and Craig Fiegener, Dec. 8, 2017