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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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We just went through a court case and the case was just settled.

Resolved Question:

We just went through a court case and the case was just settled. The plaintiff (not us) was suing us for $8250.00 total including lawyer fees. I just saw on the court website that they have granted the plaintiff $1497.00 plus reasonable atty fees. So with this said, we were counter suing the plaintiff, but because our lawyer did not file a "MORE DEFINITIVE STATEMENT ANSWER" to the court by May 16th, the counter suit got dismissed... is there anything I can do, or would it have made a difference ? I am not happy with the outcome because our lawyer totally messed up our counter claim due to negligence on their part, right ?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
It's unlikely that you would be successful in a suit against your attorney for malpractice. If you settled your lawsuit, then you have essentially signed an agreement stating that you were satisfied with the outcome of the case. This means that you are saying that you are ok with not obtaining a recovery on your counter suit. I'm guessing that it was part of the terms of the settlement that you drop your counter-suit. If this was not explained clearly to you, then you need to file a complaint with the Ohio state bar. However, under the facts presented I do not think a malpractice claim would be successful.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Just to clarify on the counter suit. We were counter suing "HER" until we were in court in front of the judge, then the judge had asked our lawyer about the "ANSWER for a more definitive statement" He could not produce the statement he was suppose to fill out, so because of negligence on his part for returning the paperwork in the proper time frame, the judge threw out the counter claim. To me this is unfair because we had every intention on counter suing her. If our lawyer would have filed the proper paperwork in the time alloted then the counter suit would have be upheld. This means, the lawyer failed to do his job in defending us... do you agree with this ? Hopefully, I have written this to be understood. :) Thanks. Tiffany
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
It's hard to say if your lawyer was negligent without closely examining the entire file. It sounds like what happened was that your lawyer filed a counter-suit, and the Plaintiff filed a motion for a more definite statement. It then sounds like your lawyer did not file a timely response, which could result in the exclusion of your counter-claim. However, what you have said is that you then went on afterward to settle the suit. That says to me that your lawyer probably could have motioned to the court to allow you to file a more definite statement of your claim. It further says to me that there may not have been a "more definite statement" of the claim the in the first place. In other words, you may not have had a valid counter claim to make. If that is the case, then you would not have a claim against your attorney. However, without reviewing the file completely, I cannot give you a more definite answer.

If you believe that your attorney has committed mal practice, then I advise you to file a grievance with the state bar. That will let a state bar attorney review the file and will give you some indication of whether or not you have a good chance for a malpractice action. If you don't want to take this step, then you need to contact a local legal practioner to fully analyze your case. I wish I could provide you with a more complete answer, but this forum is not designed to handle a complicated case analysis that is needed in your case.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I completely understand what you're saying. I believe we did have grounds for the counter suit, this was the most of the case on our end. Based on items left out and with the lawyers knowledge on the case, he to believed we had a valid counter claim. When the judge asked him about the paperwork, he had told her he never received or had seen that they file for a more definite statement. This does raise a flag of "Not paying attention" in my opinion. I guess I could contact someone local for their opinion and proceed from there. I know it wasn't his intention to let the counter suit fall through. This is a very very complicated Landlord/Tenant battle (which was suppose to be a purchase) We were basically forced to buy the house or move out! So, she was upset we didn't make the purchase! (this is to sum it up!)

I appreciate your time and answers. Though I pretty much figured, I was going to call the columbus bar association anyways. I had placed a voicemail for the owner of the law firm on wednesday or thursday last week and he still hasn't returned my call. I wanted to talk to him before doing anything else. Hopefully I can figure something out.

The judge did side with us on many instances, as you can probably tell from her wanting $8250.00 and the court only found $1497.00 in damages that she's entiltled to.

That fact still remains, we had no counter suit from then on. I don't know what the lawyer was thinking except that this case had drug out for 13 months and we paid him a flat rate, so he probably just wanted it to be over, as I know he had lost money over this case. (we only paid him 500 total for 13 months of this because plaintiff kept putting the court hearing off)

Anyways. Thanks for your information. :D


Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
Well...I hope that you are able to find resolution. It does not sound like everything went as it should have. Whether that rises to the level of malpractice is another matter altogether. Good luck. If you find that my services were useful, please approve payment. Thanks, ZDN.
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