Can a typo be considered malpractice?

Everyone makes mistakes, and most Florida residents understand when it happens, despite the inconveniences it can bring. When an attorney makes a mistake, however, even a small one, it can be a little more than inconvenient—it can be quite costly.

The American Bar Association recaps a real estate case that should give pause to landowners everywhere. The details begin with a property owner, Boghas Paul Mouradian, who mortgaged land in return for a loan from Michael Antonis, whose attorney in the matter was Joseph Liberati. The attorney prepared the note and mortgage and delivered them to the county recorder. Antonis checked with Liberati several times about the matter, and his attorney repeatedly told him the documents were recorded and everything was in order.

A clerk in the county recorder’s office, however, had misspelled Mouradian’s name and, as a result, the mortgage was not correctly filed. The original landowner, Mouradian, later sold his property without telling the buyer of the mortgage and pocketed the money without paying off the mortgage. When Antonis learned of the sale, Liberati looked into the issue and suggested that Antonis file a lawsuit against the deed recorder.

Antonis tried first to sue the property buyers, who were successful in defending their claim that they did not know of the mortgage, and a title search had failed to turn up the mortgage. Antonis then sued his attorney, who joined the deed recorder and Mouradian’s estate. The appellate court said that Antonis, and by extension his attorney, bore the responsibility of ensuring the deed was recorded correctly.

The court even said that the behavior of the original mortgagor, Mouradian, while fraudulent, would not have been possible if the attorney had not been negligent in his duty to his client. Attorneys should note that, even though a typing error is a small thing in itself, it can have much bigger consequences.

This article, while discussing a specific case, is a general example and is not intended to be legal advice.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Contextual

Contact

Jacksonville Office
1300 Riverplace Boulevard
Suite 401
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Toll Free: 866-542-1996
Phone: 904-396-1996
Fax: 904-396-1991
Map & Directions

Miami Office
1395 Brickell Avenue
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 305-200-8674
Phone: 305-200-8675
Fax: 305-200-8801
Map & Directions

West Palm Beach - By Appointment Only
301 Clematis Street
Suite 300
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: 561-832-5991
Fax: 561-832-5985
Map & Directions

Panama City Office
305 Cherry Street
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-481-1386
Fax: 850-640-1247
Map & Directions

Tampa Office
10150 Highland Manor Drive
Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33610

Fax: 813-314-2163
Map & Directions