Tennessee  |  Legal Malpractice

Legal Question

Asked on: 7/16/04, 10:56 pm

Is Failing To File Appeal Malpractice

A case involving breach of contract / violation of consumer laws / libel / defamation was appealed to Circuit Court from Session (small claims). Prior to the merits of the case being heard. A motion to dismiss was granted by the Circuit Court. In response, Plaintiff's attorney cited several authorities in a written appeal. The crux of the appeal was that the exact same issues had been decided by the Appeal Court prior ( unrelated case) and the Circuit court had no standing to not abide by the Appeal court ruling. Plaintiff's atttorney had 30 days to file the appeal. Attorney notified plaintiff 5 days after the 30 day statute that he had covered the documents in other paperwork on his desk and failed to file them in a timely manner. He apologized, said he was extremely embarrassed and advised plaintiff that he would no longer be representing plaintiff because of the potential for a cause of action against him for his negligence in faililng to file the appeal. Compensatory and punitive damages in the case were nearly $100,000. Question.....is the fact that the attorney failed to file the case within the 30 day period, a cause of action for legal malpractice / negligence? Is all lost?

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