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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I had a civil rights case filed against city gov. Case was

Customer Question

I had a civil rights case filed against city gov. Case was filed Nov 2012 over an incident that occurred August 2012. The case was being handled by my attorney at the time and was being negotiated for settlement but the lawyer just disappeared for 11 months
and I was never represented with settlement papers. After I threatened the lawyer with filing a complaint with the bar, he suddenly answered me after ignoring me and another attorney for another 6 months, he answered and sent me settlements papers which I
find unacceptable. I want to file a motion to reinstate the case. What statute of limitations do I have to worry about in this regard? I would probably file the motion myself at this point. One more crucial element is that the city now sued me about 7 months
ago (As a retaliation.)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer, I am sorry to learn of this situation. You really need a new attorney (preferably a legal malpractice attorney) to take a look at your actual documents to help you identify what exactly the status of your case is. (If you didn't sign a settlement with the City, your case should not have been dismissed, therefore there is no need to refile - however, if you did sign a settlement agreement, you cannot refile the same case a second time, regardless of the circumstances of the settlement).

A local attorney can also help you take a look at the lawsuit filed against you by the City and see if that would be precluded by the settlement agreement, and what, if anything, can be done to dispose of that quickly without having to go through another course of litigation.

Legal malpractice cases are based almost entirely on expert testimony. You must not only find an attorney to act as an expert witness regarding the standard of care for your prior lawyer (to prove the "negligence" elements of the case), but also an attorney expert (and potentially other experts) to testify regarding the underlying claim (you must prove that absent the attorney's malpractice you would have achieved a better result - often termed "the case within the case").

Due to the complexity of these claims, I highly recommend that you retain a legal malpractice plaintiff's lawyer (also called trial attorneys). Fortunately the majority of these attorneys will provide you with a free consultation, and many will represent you on a contingency basis (they will advance the costs of litigation and legal services in exchange for a portion of your successful settlement or judgment).

You can find local attorneys using the State and Local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).

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