Deceptive behavior is a manner commonly used to describe criminals, not lawyers. Yet, to the shock of clients, some legal professionals are found guilty of professional malpractice. While most Floridians likely connect malpractice with surgical errors in the medical field, legal malpractice can occur in a number of forms. Regardless of the type of misstep in judgement, professional malpractice often leads to hefty consequences.
As consequential as these cases may be for lawyers, some experts argue that, depending on the circumstances, succeeding in a malpractice lawsuit can prove to be challenging. It is important to know the details of these types of lawsuits to best strategize appropriate legal action.
In the case of two Jacksonville lawyers, an error in legal practice seems to have been more malicious intent than the result of a mistake. According to The Florida Times-Union, federal judges found Norwood Wilner and Charlie Farah guilty of over a thousand frivolous cases that served as part of a litigation against tobacco companies. In sum, the attorneys forfeited $9 million in damages. This case was clearly no mistake, as the Times-Union went on to share that the attorneys had filed claims on behalf of countless people without their permission, as well as on behalf of over 500 deceased individuals. The original lawsuit dates back to the 1990s, and the attorneys' interception with individual claims led to the costly $9 million in court fees and damages.
Depending on the type of case, many clients can become overwhelmed with the details of professional malpractice lawsuits. Findlaw provides information involving legal malpractice, noting that a client must prove four elements to move forward in a negligence claim. First, the lawyer must have agreed to provide competent representation. The lawyer must have then breached their duty due to a mistake. The client must also prove that this negligence resulted in injury or harm, and, finally, that harm must have resulted in financial loss. In addition, the client must also prove clear causation.