Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a litigation attorney from Tennessee.
The statute of limitations for the lawyer to recover the overpayment is 6 years, so he/she is well within the time frame to seek a return of this money.
If the money was paid in error and the lawyer can prove this, he/she is entitled to have the money returned under the legal concept of unjust enrichment. Unjust enrichment essentially means that someone cannot keep something that legally does not belong to him/her.
You can threaten the lawyer with a malpractice suit, and that will possibly make him walk away.
Bear in mind that you'll need proof of malpractice; proof that the lawyer committed professional misconduct. It's not enough to claim that he didn't get you as much as you wanted out of the deal. You have to show that there was actual failure of his duty to represent you.
Sure, it's up to the lawyer, but mistakes are made and if you're paid more than you're due - in this or in any other situation - you have to pay it back.
Looking at it the other way, had you accepted less than you were entitled to and you later found out that the lawyer didn't pay you enough, you would be entitled to the money.
The lawyer has 6 years to get it right - that's when the statue of limitations runs on the claim.
You can certainly claim that the attorney had several chances to verify the numbers, but since the statute of limitations hasn't run, I don't think you can expect that to hold up in court.
I would not have used the money if I knew it wasn't mine to use. Do I get any consideration for that/
what is adequate?