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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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We have an attorney who has really screwed up a summary judgement

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We have an attorney who has really screwed up a summary judgement hearing dealing with an expired lease in Hawaii. He was supposed to gather evidence like deposition people to support our estoppel defense. The judge gave him 30 extra days and when he arrived at court he was still not prepared for our case and asked the judge for 30 more day and the judge said no. Now we are in an expense messy appeal situation and want to switch attorney since we have lost all confidence in our attorney. One of our friends who is a attorney (not litigation) told us that we have a case of negligence against him because he did not do what he told the judge he was going to do in the 30 day extension. My question is how hard is it to sue an attorney for negligence? and would we even be able to find an attorney that would do this. I live in Hawaii and it is a small island I cant imagine even finding an attorney to do this. Is it common for attorney who screw up on cases to be sued and it is hard to recover. We paid this attorney 30,000 to go to court and fight for us and he didn't. At the very least we want our money back that we paid him. Am I in la la land this that we can sue this attorney and recover from him?

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns. I know I have assisted you in the past.

Could you tell me how long ago this took place? Legal malpractice has a statutory limitation so I want to be sure that this option is even possible at this time--thank you!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The summary judgement hearing was 6 months ago. He is still our attorney dealing with the appeal. It is much harder than I thought to find a new attorney in the middle of this appeal. The appeal is based on the fact that the judge did not give him 30 more days (judges discretion) and also the appeal now mentions that the time between filing the summary judgment and the hearing was too short. It says in our appeal that there has to be at least 90 days between the two and it was only 60 days. The other side is rich and has a whole office working on this case. They want our lot badly to build a mansion to sell for two million. We had the right to buy the land under chapter 516 at the land only appraised fee price which was $625,000 they tricked my mom and lulled her into believing that they would give her a "lease extension" and then right when the lease expired they said so sorry get out. her house is worth 200,000 yet our attorney never even argue for loss of equity.

Thank you for your follow-up, Linda.

In Hawaii, the statute of limitations of legal malpractice is one of the most generous in the country, granting you up to 6 years to file. As for how hard (or easy) it is to sue, it is generally quite challenging to sue an attorney because most attorneys carry insurance allowing them to retain their own counsel for defense. You can potentially file an attorney who specializes in legal malpractice, but they are few and far between. You would likely need to go on sites such as and to find a semi local attorney who is able to come to your island to assist you because I doubt that you have such a specialist on-site. It might be possible but highly unlikely. Pursuing an attorney on your own is generally not advised.

Good luck.

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