How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask TJ, Esq. Your Own Question

TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9587
Experience:  Licensed to Practice Law
Type Your Legal Question Here...
TJ, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a question concerning civil procedure after appeal and

Customer Question

I have a question concerning civil procedure after appeal and legal malpractice. In 2007, my company filed a five count complaint against our landlord for: (1) breach of contract, (2) fraud, (3) interference with prospective contractual relations, (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and (5) negligent infliction of emotion distress. Conflicting personalities between myself and counsel led to his withdrawal. I hired another attorney a few months afterwards. In early 2008, my new attorney amended the complaint to only one count: breach of contract. He did so without my explicit knowledge or permission. Because the landlord filed a similar suit against my company, and because my suit fell second in priority, I never thought to check or ask any questions concerning the complaint itself. It was always my understanding the complaint remained as it was originally filed. Nevertheless, I fired this other attorney after feeling cheated and proceeded to hire someone else. Unfortunately, my case was dismissed in 2012 because of the defendant's application of the equitable doctrine of res judicata (I lost in their case). We're proceeding in an appeal right now; if we were to win and the case would be remanded: (1) will we be able to amend our complaint once more to include the counts that were lost? (2) If not, would I be able to bring action against the second attorney for amending the complaint without my knowledge and losing my ability to gain relief on those counts?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: (1) will we be able to amend our complaint once more to include the counts that were lost?
A: Probably not. You certainly would have no automatic right to amend the complaint since so much time has passed. You'd have to seek leave of court (i.e., the judge's permission), but I can't see the judge allowing where so much time has passed because the other party can claim that it would be prejudiced by the delay (e.g., possible lost evidence, possible different legal strategies would have been employed, etc.). I really don't think the judge will allow it.

Q: (2) If not, would I be able to bring action against the second attorney for amending the complaint without my knowledge and losing my ability to gain relief on those counts?
A: Yes, you probably would have a viable claim against the attorney for legal malpractice. It's actually outrageous that the attorney would unilaterally amend the complaint without your consent. To win a case for malpractice, however, you'd have to be able to show that you would have likely prevailed on the counts that were removed. The reason you'd have to prove that is because the alternative is that you were not harmed by the fact that the counts were removed. The way to prove harm, is to prove that you would have likely won.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Is there any statute of limitation concerning the legal malpractice issue? Also, is there a particular way a court would find that I would have most likely won my case if the counts remained? Or would I simply have to be creative in proving the issue?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hello again.

The statute of limitations for legal malpractice is 2 years from when you discovered (or reasonably should have discovered) the negligence, with a maximum of 6 years after the act. If you did not discover what occurred until 2012, then you probably still have a case against the attorney.

As for proving that you would have won, that generally means a mini-trial within the malpractice trial in which you prove your case with regard to the missing counts.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Would it help to file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission? Or would that just be a waste of time?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hi again.

Filing a complaint with the disciplinary board probably wouldn't help. What you describe is negligence (i.e., poor lawyering), but I don't believe that it's an ethical issue (i.e., dishonesty, etc.), which is what the disciplinary board is concerned with. You may want to file the complaint just to see what happens, but I wouldn't expect the outcome to help in the lawsuit.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.