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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11853
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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I retained a Lawyer in Michigan to provide aggressive representation

Customer Question

I retained a Lawyer in Michigan to provide aggressive representation in pursuing legal action against several parties which resulted in the loss of my employment. When we talked about him providing representation, the cost was $3,000; but the cost was increased to $3,000 + 20% when the lawyer wrote up our agreement. The lawyer failed to comply with the terms of our agreement, performing only the most basic actions, and will no longer communicate with me at all - after all, he has the $3,000. I would like to pursue actions in small claims against him for failing to perform as required in our agreement, but can I sue him for anything more than the $3,000? His failure to act has resulted in the statute of limitations running out to pursue action against the other parties.

Please advise -

Thanks -
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question nd provide excellent service.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you, but I believe I have information which you will find helpful.

Yes, if the attorney failed, through his own professional negligence, to pursue a valid claim for which you would have likely prevailed, but for the lawyer's malpractice, then the lawyer would be liable to you for all the damages you would have collected had the claim been properly handled.

Missing statute of limitations dates is one of the most common reasons for malpractice claims.

It is my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further information.  I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I am assuming that pursuing and collecting the $3,000 would be easily accomplished in small claims court. But what would the specific basis be for pursuing anything additional, as the potential amount of any action was never determined.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I assume that it would be fairly easy to recover the return of the $3,000 in small claims court - but what, specifically, would the basis be?


 


As far as any additional amounts, how could this be pursued since there was no specific dollar amount discussed regarding a potential resolution from the original entities?

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your follow up question.

Once you would establish liability, you would have to prove your damages. That could be done by looking at awards or verdicts in cases with similar claims. There are jury verdict reporters your malpractice attorney has access to do this research. You would prove the damages in your malpractice case in pretty much the same manner as you would have had you been able to pursue the original claim.

I hope this is helpful.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


How can I find a reputable lawyer who would be willing to sue another lawyer, and also pursue, essentially, the original matter at the same time, since liability would have to be determined?


 


I had a hard enough time locating the first lawyer, since no one really wanted to pursue the wrongful discharge matter in the first place.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What specifically (MCL ???) would the basis be for recovering the $3,000 in small claims court?


What specifically (MCL ???) would the basis be for recovering any additional damages due to the professional negligence of the lawyer to pursue a valid claim for which I would have likely prevailed, but for the lawyer's malpractice?

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for following up with me.

It is not statutory. Your recovery for breach of contract or professional malpractice is based in common law. The only statutory issue is jurisdiction.


I hope this clarifies the answer.

JudgeLaw
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

I am unclear as to why you rated my service negatively. If I misunderstood your question I apologize. Is there further information I may provide to help clarify my answer? I am happy to answer your follow up questions until you are satisfied.

JudgeLaw

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
I have opted out so that another Expert may assist you.

Good luck. I hope things turn out ok for you.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Answer the stated question.
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Licensed, Practicing Attorney. My goal is to provide you with accurate, honest Answers according to the law applicable to your situation. If the Answers are not what you wanted to hear, please do not leave a negative rating because my Answers are restricted by the law applicable to your specific set of facts. However, my goal continues to be to provide you with Excellent Service,

 

If the following are not the two questions you were referring to, please be kind enough to let me know

 

1. What specifically would the basis be for recovering the $3,000 in small claims court?

 

2. What specifically (would the basis be for recovering any additional damages due to the professional negligence of the lawyer to pursue a valid claim for which I would have likely prevailed, but for the lawyer's malpractice?

 

 

Answer 1

 

When you retained the Attorney and he agreed to represent you, a contract was formed. If the Attorney did not adhere to the contract terms, your basis for recovery would be for breach of contract. In deciding the case, the Judge would apply two common law legal principles; first, "Unjust Enrichment" and second, "Quantum Meruit".

 

The principle of Unjust Enrichment stands for the proposition that the law does not permit an individual to benefit or profit at the expense of another individual. For example, assume a homeowner pays a contractor to build him a two-car garage and pays the contractor the cost of constructing a two-car garage. The contractor takes the homeowner's payment, but constructs only a one-car garage. If the contractor were permitted to keep the full amount, he would unjustly benefit at the expense of the homeowner who only got a one-car garage. Therefore the Judge would apply the legal Principle of Unjust Enrichment and Order the contractor to return that part of the payment which he did not earn.

 

In the above example, in order for the Judge to determine what amount should be refunded to the homeowner, he would apply the legal Principle of "Quantum Meruit" and state that although the contractor cannot retain the full amount, the principle would dictate that the contractor be awarded an amount which would be commensurate with the amount of work that he did.

 

Similarly, in your situation, if this is the case in which the Attorney allowed the Statute of Limitations to expire, then he would not be awarded any amount. However, if this was not the suit against your employer for wrongful termination, then the Judge would take the position that the Attorney would not be permitted to keep the full $3,000 you paid him because you stated that he did only the minimum amount of work. However, the Judge would also state that although the Attorney did not do all of the work agreed upon, he did some of the work, minimal as it was, and must be compensated in an amount commensurate with the amount and quality of the services he performed.

 

 

Answer 2

 

The basis for recovering an additional amount because of the Attorney's malpractice would be on a negligence theory, i.e., the Attorney was negligent in allowing the Statute of Limitations to expire in your case. Once the Attorney's negligence was established by the Court, the issue of damages would be addressed. In determining the amount of damages you would be awarded, the Court conducts something of a "case within a case". The Judge would state a hypothetical example, such as,

 

"If the Attorney had not been negligent and if the Attorney had not allowed the Statute of Limitations to expire and if the Attorney had pursued your case for wrongful termination, what would a Judge or jury have awarded you as damages for your wrongful termination."

And, in that manner, the amount of damages would be determined,

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you, it will not cost you anything additional to give me a positive rating, and that is the only way I can receive credit, Thank you for understanding,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq.
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11853 Satisfied Customers
25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.