The First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a Plaintiff may recover damages for emotional distress in a legal malpractice action, when the conduct of a lawyer causes injuries other than economic harm. In this case, the Plaintiff alleged he was improperly committed to a mental hospital as the result of the negligence of his court-appointed attorney, who represented him during the commitment proceedings.
At the commitment hearing, the attorney did not permit his client to testify and refused to withdraw when the client requested a new lawyer. The client maintained that his attorney told him to either leave the state or agree to the commitment. The client was committed for observation for twenty days, but was released earlier when a hospital psychiatrist questioned the justification for the commitment. Upon his release, the client sued his attorney seeking emotional damages arising from his commitment.
This blogsite has been created by the Attorney, to educate readers about developments in the law pertaining to negligence in the practice of law, also known as legal malpractice. The blog will review and analyze cases and other related issues both in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the New England states and in other jurisdictions throughout the U.S.
The blog will provide readers with information about local and national issues, which will hopefully educate and inform readers about the law of legal negligence, and some of the issues, which must be addressed in determining whether or not conduct by an attorney would give rise to valid and actionable claims.
There are many instances when a client has received an unfavarable result in a lawsuit, and the natural inclination is to blame the lawyer for the outcome. Although It is usually the attorney who has control of the progress of the suit and whose stategy comes into play in decisions how a trial takes place, it is not the usual case that these decisions rise to a lefel of actionavble negligence.