Legal malpractice lawsuits can affect anyone, even those who have already been disbarred. In a case out of New York, a former Rutland lawyer was disbarred and jailed in 2017 after it was discovered that he had failed to pay taxes.
Now, he's facing a legal malpractice lawsuit filed by two of his previous clients. They claim that he mishandled the financial proceedings during the case and ended up costing the family over $100,000.
In their case, they paid the attorney $1,800 to represent them in 2015. The same year, federal prosecutors began a tax fraud case against him. The couple continued to call the attorney's office, but they reported that he didn't file a bankruptcy petition for them until April 2016, long after they retained the attorney in October 2015. On top of that, he did not file a notice of appearance on their behalf.
The couple said that they then were faced with the sale of their property in April, but they hadn't been informed until they saw a public notice. When they confronted their attorney, he said he wouldn't do a Chapter 13 case, which is what they needed to do to save their property.
The couple did go on to obtain a new attorney, who filed the bankruptcy on their behalf and saved their home. In the meantime, they had to hand over $12,000 in foreclosure fees, $40,839 more in loan payments and additional interest. Much of that, they argued, was a result of the attorney not meeting the professional standard of care that they'd have expected. Under the Consumer Fraud Act, they are seeking triple damages.
This is just a single example of how legal malpractice can seriously affect a case. This family has lost thousands of dollars and nearly lost their home as a result of delays and the mistreatment of their case.
What should you do if you're a victim of legal malpractice?
If you are a victim of legal malpractice in New York, it's essential to begin working with a new attorney to build your case. Even if your original case did not result in getting compensation or failed because of a missed statute of limitations, you can pursue a claim against the attorney who mishandled your case. If you can prove your case, then you may be able to seek all the compensation you deserve from the attorney who botched your case in the first place.