St. Denis & Davey, P.A.

Legal Malpractice Issues

What is a case within a case?

| Mar 9, 2019 | Legal Malpractice Law |

When you hired your Florida attorney, you believed that (s)he would take your case seriously and do everything in his or her power to help you win it. But you lost your case. While losing a lawsuit may not rise to the level of attorney malpractice, it can if your attorney was negligent in his or her representation of you.

Unfortunately, however, if you decide to sue your attorney for malpractice, winning your legal malpractice lawsuit will not be easy. As saclaw.org explains, you will also need to win your case within a case in order to prevail. Actually, you will need to prove all four of the following:

  1. That you and your former attorney had an attorney-client relationship
  2. That (s)he breached his or her duty of care to you by acting negligently
  3. That you lost your lawsuit, thereby injuring you
  4. That the loss of your lawsuit resulted in your receiving actual damages; that is, the amount of money you would have received had your lawsuit ended favorably through settlement or judgment

The case within a case

The case within a case doctrine requires you to retry the case you lost as part of your legal malpractice lawsuit. Not only must you “win” it, you must also prove that your attorney’s negligence caused you to lose it and that the defendant therein had the financial wherewithal to pay the judgment had you won.

The more complex your underlying lawsuit was, the more difficult and expensive it likely will be for you to win it now, along with your overarching legal malpractice suit. At the very least, you can expect to have to hire one or more expert witnesses to convince a jury by their testimony that you would have won your original lawsuit but for your attorney’s negligence.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.