An appellate court in Louisiana has affirmed a judgment in a legal malpractice case, which included damages for mental anguish. In Anthony v. Yokum, a client sued her former attorney for legal malpractice arising from his representation in a personal injury matter. The client’s case was settled and the attorney received the settlement proceeds. However, he failed to apply them to her outstanding medical expenses, which were about $23,000.00.
As a result of the attorney’s conduct, the client received collection notices and multiple phone calls from creditors. The client felt like she was being harassed. After a bench trial in the malpractice case, the judge found in favor of the client and awarded her damages, including $5,500.00 for mental anguish.
The attorney appealed, claiming that the evidence did not support an award for emotional damages. Under Louisiana law, damage awards for pain and suffering are based on severity and duration. In this case, the fact that the client felt harassed and “was upset a lot” were determining factors in the trial court’s award. The appellate court upheld the judgment, citing the trial court’s broad discretion to assess damages.
Decision: Anthony v. Yokum