Need better proof to argue against lawyer that $6M is not enough
Abdulky v Lubin & Meyer P.C. Mass Appeals Court (2022)
Medical Care and Results A young boy went to the hospital with complaints of pain in his arm but was not treated for the serious condition it was. The 5 year old boy’s arm had to amputated below the elbow. The boy’s parents sued the hospital and doctors, and the case went to a mediation settlement conference.
Medical Malpractice Settlement The medical defendants agreed to pay $6M to settle and the boy’s lawyers and parents said OK. The parents instructed the lawyer in writing to accept the $6M. A judge held hearing to ensure that the settlement was in the best interest of the minor. The parents then said $6M might not be enough to cover the future medical costs. The judge approved the $6M settlement.
Legal Malpractice Claim The parents sued the medical malpractice lawyers based on the letter from another lawyer with the view that the case should be a $10M case. The parents had a letter from a lawyer who said based on his research of verdicts the payment amount should be $10M or so. The medical malpractice lawyers who had been sued, asked the judge to dismiss the case.
In the malpractice claim against the first lawyers for settling for an allegedly inadequate amount, was there enough evidence – or should the case be dismissed?
Dismiss the legal malpractice case.
Lawyer’s conduct is measured by standards. An essential element in a case against a professional is proof of harm from a departure from those professional standards.
To claim in a suit against your first lawyers that you should have obtained a better settlement agreement, there must be admissible evidence to show that proper representation would have resulted in a bigger award. This evidence was missing and so the case against the lawyers got thrown out.
The affidavit from a lawyer saying he had confirmed his opinion by researching verdicts and settlements from a variety of cases – fell short. This was not reliable expert methodology to support the conclusion.
To sue a professional you need a report from a good expert who knows the field.