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When a lawyer hangs the phone up in his clients face is that a care of duty?

2 Answers. Asked on Feb 04th, 2017 on Legal Malpractice - New York
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My attorney has failed to diligently pursue both of my auto injury claims and he has failed to communicate with me on a regular basis. He has failed to make himself available for me, has not in anyway prepared me for a trial proceeding; hung the phone up in my face, settled my first claim without my permission, and has denied me access to my file for inspection and for my personal system of records. The list goes on and on. After filing a grievance against this lawyer of record with attorney bar association, Supreme Court appellate division fourth department, he decided to retaliate and discriminate against me by dropping both my cases, and advising me to find another lawyer.
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Answered on Feb 06th, 2017 at 6:04 PM

Your attorney cannot simply "drop your case", if it is in litigation, without your consent- I believe what you're saying is that he dropped YOU as a client. That usually requires the consent of the court. What you've described could be legal malpractice if his actions or inaction ruined what would have otherwise been a great case.  I am curious about the result of the grievance proceeding- if the lawyer has his license suspended or receives a serious sanction or censure, that is a strong indicator of malpractice. Conversely, if the grievance committee determines he did nothing wrong, you likely have no malpractice case. I'm also not sure how your lawyer could drop both of your cases if he settled one, as you indicate. Finally, it is a given that people who file grievances against their attorneys in the middle of their cases have already decided to retain a new lawyer. How could you expect a lawyer against whom you are filing grievances to continue to properly represent you, and why would you want him to?  

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Answered on Feb 05th, 2017 at 5:35 AM

So get another lawyer.  It is only malpractice if his actions caused you to be worse off, and that is not yet determined.

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Legal Malpractice
The vast majority of attorneys act ethically and diligently representing the interests of their clients. But what happens when you hire a lawyer who has a conflict of interest, makes errors in your representation, is negligent or breaches his or her fiduciary duty? In those instances, you may have grounds for a legal malpractice complaint or lawsuit. Law firms that represent the victims of legal malpractice can help you file a complaint with your state's lawyer registration and disciplinary commission, while also filing a civil lawsuit against your former attorney.
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