Business Law

Ask a Business Lawyer. Get Business Law Questions Answered ASAP.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Business Law
This answer was rated:

I know attorneys are immune to uttering falsehoods in open

court, but is their client...
I know attorneys are immune to uttering falsehoods in open court, but is their client liable for giving erroneous information to their client about another party? Let me ask it this way: Since an attorney is the proxy of their client, is not any information that client dreams up for their attorney to use against another party, something that the client would be liable for?
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Answered in 1 minute by:
5/12/2013
Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,799
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
Verified

Kirk Adams : Hi - thanks for the question.
Kirk Adams : Any attorney would have liability if he/she KNEW that the client was providing false information.
Kirk Adams : .....if the attorney passed it off as true.
Kirk Adams : However, attorney's usually don't have liability because they don't KNOW that the information is false. Instead, most attorneys will not know for a certainty, so they have insulation from such a claim.
Kirk Adams : However, if it is proven that the client KNOWINGLY made false statements or gave false information to the court via his/her attorney or through testimony, the client could be liable to the court via perjury charges.
Customer:

I was seeking a defamation count against the client on top of numerous other counts of tort. Would not defamation be appropriate if an unsubstantiated allegation was made, through the attorney, that met with the term "imputing to another a criminal offense amounting to a felony."?

Kirk Adams : A defamation claim could be filed IF you can prove that the person knowingly made a false statement about you in an attempt to harm one's character. But if the statement occurred in court, it may be very difficult to claim that as defamation because most statements made in court or allegations in a lawsuit can't be the basis for a defamation claim.
Customer:

Let me confirm something. IS THE CLIENT accountable for whatever harm his attorney does to another, while acting in his name?

Kirk Adams : Generally, no - - because allegations made in a lawsuit can't be grounds for defamation. This is so because the main purpose of litigation is to make allegations and then try to prove them.....
Customer:

There is no lawsuit. There was no court trial, at least not where the party in question is concerned.

Customer:

The defamation was a felonious allegation made in a letter through an attorney, who then appeared in a non related court hearing and repeated that allegation without being a witness or having a cause for being there, and combined the two incidents defamed the first person's trust with his creditors, who were in the court, at a hearing for bankruptcy.

Customer:

The charges were unsubstantiated, unfounded, and as a result the defaming party profitted by the loss of the first party's property in bankruptcy.

Kirk Adams : Ok. That's an interesting situation for sure.
Customer:

Defamation applicable? (Hypothetically speaking, :-))

Kirk Adams : In this situation, I think you can make the case that the letter is defamatory if it can be proven that the information from the letter was given to the lawyer by this person, and that the person knew it was false and presented it to his/her attorney as true.
Kirk Adams : This would be no different (logistically) than a news reporter publishing a defamatory statement made by one person about another.
Kirk Adams : The reporter wouldn't be liable for publishing the statement - - but the speaker would.
Customer:

Confidentiality wouldn't apply; as the letter was then used to undermine the Trustee (first person) with the corporation's bankruptcy attorney, who quit as a result.

Kirk Adams : There's no confidentiality if the letter was read in open court and the attorney spoke about it's content.
Customer:

The letter was never read in open court; but the co-counsel of the author appeared in open court (uninvited) and repeated similar allegations given by his client. Regarding the "punitive damages" issue, you might look at "Saunders Hardware Five and Ten, inc. v. Low, 307 So. 2d. 893 (Fla. 3d DCA 1974)" There is an interesting opinion there... "punitive damages may be awarded even though the amount of actual damages is neither found nor shown"

Customer:

"...for in such a case, the requirement of showing of actual damages as a basis of an award for exemplary damages is satisfied by the presumption of injury which arised from the showing of libel or slander that is actionable per se."

Kirk Adams : I read the other case you cited, and Florida law , and is says that damages for defamation per se are presumed, and that's why there may be a way to get to punitives without PROOF of damages.
Kirk Adams : HOWEVER, there must still be an AWARD of actual/general/compensatory damages before punitives can be allowed.
Kirk Adams : The Lawnwood case actually says that Florida law caps punitive damages to 3 times the amount of compensatory damages up to $500,000.
Kirk Adams : Thus, compensatory damages MUST be awarded as a prerequisite to punitives being allowed.
Kirk Adams : What the cases you are reading say is that you don't necessarily have to be able to PROVE damages because defamation per se presumes damages.
Customer:

I know. But they can be nearly nothing; only figurative. However, in the hypothetical issue we're discussing the numbers are in the high six figures, so this is just frosting on the cake. But deserved and justified. I don't know if you got to the judge's comments on the earlier case (Lawnwood Medical Center v. Sadow), but they were unprecedented from a century back rights to a man's good name being upheld. Citing "Thou shall not bear false witness against they neighbor." Adding that Florida is unmatched in how it sees the preservation of one's good name, and legal damnation for those who defame it.

Customer:

Exactly.

Kirk Adams : This is a good thing because damages for defamation are SO hard to quantify.
Customer:

If you google "slander per se, florida" you'll get some great citings.

Customer:

Some is law firm P.R., but their comments and case law are valid.

Kirk Adams : The Lawnwood case has some good headnotes, and the law in FL is basically the same as it is in other states in regard to defamation per se and punitive damages.
Kirk Adams : The only real difference is the cap on punitives is actually less in FL than in may states.
Customer:

Might I ask what state you're licensed in?

Kirk Adams : Several, actually......
Kirk Adams : I'm licensed to practice in state/federal courts of Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas and Kentucky and Ohio.
Kirk Adams : However, my primary practice is in Tennessee and Mississippi, but I have actually tried several cases in Florida under the pro hac vice allowance of the Supreme Court.
Customer:

Supreme Court? Cool. That's great on the resume. Well, I appreciate your insight and time on this subject. I'm from Memphis, although now in Florida. Thanks a lot!

Kirk Adams : Most of the cases have involved commercial construction cases. I represent several national construction companies, so I travel where they need me for certain cases.
Kirk Adams : My entire family lives in the Memphis area - - love the Bluff City!
Customer:

I miss it. But Memphis has changed a lot in the last 20 years. I'll look forward to your expertise again; and saved you in my arsenal of experts.

Customer:

Have a great weekend.

Kirk Adams : You too. Glad to help.
Kirk Adams : Please let me know if you need something further.
Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,799
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
Verified
Roger and 87 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Ask Roger Your Own Question
Roger
Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,799
31,799 Satisfied Customers
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters

Roger is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

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

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

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.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, 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!!

ElaineAtlanta, 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.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

1,793 satisfied customers

Experienced lawyer

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

1,611 satisfied customers

Run my own successful business/contract law practice.

MShore Law

MShore Law

Attorney

1,233 satisfied customers

Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements

RGMacEsq

RGMacEsq

Attorney

742 satisfied customers

Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

Barrister

Barrister

Attorney

640 satisfied customers

17 years practicing attorney, JD, BA, MBA

Ely

Ely

Attorney

564 satisfied customers

Counselor at Law.

J.Hazelbaker

J.Hazelbaker

Attorney

393 satisfied customers

Experienced and trained in the area of business law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Business Law Questions
A website / platform is allowing a company in Europe to use
A website / platform is allowing a company in Europe to use our trademark and, since their platform is heavily used by people in the United States, we are concerned that our customers will get confuse… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I hired a moving company to move two dental cabinets from a
I hired a moving company to move two dental cabinets from a dental ware house in Florida to my dental practice in California. The moving company picked up and moved the cabinets. They have kept my cab… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
If an LLC (A LLC) in Utah has as the only member as another
If an LLC (A LLC) in Utah has as the only member as another LLC (B LLC). If B LLC failed to renew and has an expired registration as 5/30/2017. Is A LLC not defunct under Utah Code 48-3a-701 (3), beca… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,959 satisfied customers
I want to quash a subpoena. Do I need a lawyer to do so? An
I want to quash a subpoena. Do I need a lawyer to do so?An email account (Google mail, gmail) got a notice that its records were subpoenaed. There is something in the notice about quashing it. Is this… read more
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58
JD Honors Graduate
3,514 satisfied customers
As an independent adjuster (Florida) I would like to open my
As an independent adjuster (Florida) I would like to open my own company as claim office, soliciting business with insurance companies, I'm IA adjuster 502 licensed, is there something else that I wou… read more
Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw
Juris Doctor
3,685 satisfied customers
I own a company in Florida. The company is a Florida
I own a company in Florida. The company is a Florida Corporation, and was incorporated in Florida. Our corporation specializes in business consulting. The main purpose of our corporation is business c… read more
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58
JD Honors Graduate
3,514 satisfied customers
Can the Legislature of a sovereign US state delegate the
Can the Legislature of a sovereign US state delegate the powers its State Constitution provides to its elected representatives to make laws, to any other body but itself, anywhere? I think not. I thin… read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,244 satisfied customers
I am in a Partnership LLC in PA and my business partner has
I am in a Partnership LLC in PA and my business partner has never paid me her share of the initial purchase of inventory as I paid for it on my personal credit card. Since she has never paid if it her… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,196 satisfied customers
I am part of a 501c3 registered non-profit organization, the
I am part of a 501c3 registered non-profit organization, the Ministry of Servanthood, serving Christian community in Oregon area. Currently it pays part of the utility of my residence. Can it cover my… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,793 satisfied customers
How to fill out a "Stock Transfer Ledger" for a C Corporation
How do you fill out a "Stock Transfer Ledger" for a C Corporation? I have the "Original Issue" filled in but not sure how to record transfers. The original issue was 100 shares to one person. The 1st … read more
mclemorelawyer
mclemorelawyer
Doctoral Degree
4 satisfied customers
We originally signed an NDA with a potential partner. We
We originally signed an NDA with a potential partner. We have since separate that relationship and we have been asked not to use their documents language and to return said documents. Can you recommen… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,793 satisfied customers
We signed an NDA with company #1. Company #1 put us in
We signed an NDA with company #1. Company #1 put us in contact with Company #2 and company #3. Company #2/3 gave us several documents to start a project. We have since decided to part ways with Compan… read more
Legal Expert Justin
Legal Expert Justin
Law Degree
200 satisfied customers
I received a certified irs letter this morning but am at
I received a certified irs letter this morning but am at work so I'm worried sick I sent 11,000 on 10-15 return for 2016. I'm in CNC two years. I received about a month ago a tax bill for each tax yea… read more
DrakeLAW
DrakeLAW
Juris Doctorate
842 satisfied customers
I have a hand written agreement, signed but not dated, which
I have a hand written agreement, signed but not dated, which states "We agree that we will make an agreement in which I (party A) will convey half interest in my property located ------(address) to (p… read more
lwpat
lwpat
Doctoral Degree
256 satisfied customers
I'm trying to understand the best legal entity to form. Here
I'm trying to understand the best legal entity to form. Here is the scenario. There are 4 partners (not all equal equity %). All 4 of us each own our own corporations or LLCs. Our corporations simply … read more
DrakeLAW
DrakeLAW
Juris Doctorate
842 satisfied customers
As a non profit can I solicit lost and found money to
As a non profit can I solicit lost and found money to potential customer and charge them a fee if money is found?… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,196 satisfied customers
I own a Medical Supply business and one of our referral
I own a Medical Supply business and one of our referral sources at the hospital has an employee that does business with us privately and works for our referral source. He left a message for an employe… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I have a question about transferring bank accounts from one
I have a question about transferring bank accounts from one person to another in a non profit buisness … read more
Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw
Juris Doctor
3,685 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x