Metro Verdicts Monthly recently provided data on legal malpractice settlements and verdicts in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland.
The median legal malpractice settlement/verdict in Washington D.C. was a whopping $262,500.00. In Virginia and Maryland, the median legal malpractice settlement/verdict was $212,500.00 and $140,211.00 respectively.
What explains the incredible disparity between Washington, D.C., and Maryland and why is Maryland’s median so low? I really have no idea. As always, I find this data very interesting yet useless.
Legal Malpractice Settlements and Verdicts
- 2019, Washington: $60,000 Verdict. An attorney represented two men regarding their immigration petitions. One of the men was a 53-year-old corporate manager, and the other was a 21-year-old student. They alleged that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services denied their I-140 and I-485 applications because their attorney made mistakes in filling them out. Both men claim their attorney’s actions caused them to experience emotional distress. After a five-day trial, the jury awarded a $60,000 verdict. The 21-year-old received $40,000, while the 53-year-old received $20,000.
- 2019, Mississippi: $150,000 Bench Verdict. A woman sought legal representation regarding her workers’ compensation claim. She alleged that the retained law firm lied about her case, which they never filed. The woman contended that the firm informed her of a $100,000 settlement offer from her former employer. She agreed to the offer. However, the firm made it up. The woman also received fake letters and emails from a fictitious executive of her employer. It was later revealed that one of the firm’s paralegals faked these documents. She claimed to have figured out all these allegations when she heard nothing about her supposed case once it reached what would have been the statute of limitations. The woman then fired the firm and pursued a legal malpractice suit against them. She sought damages of about $60,000, which was the equivalent of her workers’ compensation benefits. The firm denied any wrongdoing, arguing that there was no attorney-client relationship. The presiding judge granted summary judgment regarding liability in favor of the woman. Following the bench trial, the judge awarded the woman $150,000.
- 2019, Michigan: $994,000 Verdict. A man claimed that his attorney’s mismanagement of his divorce case caused him to overpay his now ex-wife in the case’s settlement. He alleged that his attorney failed to properly advise him during mediation. The man also alleged that his attorney failed to disclose to him his deal with his ex-wife’s attorney about not pursuing a more aggressive defense. He claimed that, as a result, he wrongfully paid his ex-wife 29% percent of his inherited property. The jury ruled in favor of the man, awarding him a $994,000 verdict. This verdict represented how much he claimed to have overpaid his ex-wife.
- 2018, Florida: $5,000,000 Verdict. A married couple claimed that their attorney mismanaged their medical malpractice case, which resulted in its dismissal. Their case concerned a mismanaged birth that resulted in neurological birth injuries to her child and the woman’s inability to bear any more children. She alleged that the attorney failed to assert that her own injuries, specifically her infertility. Rather, the attorney only made a claim for their child’s injuries. This resulted in the entire case being dismissed because the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act (NICA) already provided monetary compensation to eligible families whose children suffered birth injuries. The couple then filed a legal malpractice suit against the attorney and his firm for failing to file a claim for the woman’s injuries. The woman alleged that the case was wrongly dismissed because she herself sustained serious injuries would not be compensated under NICA. A jury ruled in favor of the couple, awarding them a $5,000,000 verdict.
- 2018, Idaho: $1,985,000 Settlement. A woman claimed that her attorney’s failure to file her medical malpractice case constituted legal malpractice. Her case pertained to medical negligence that rendered her paraplegic. She alleged that attorney lied to her, providing her updates on her case. However, he failed to file the case within the statute of limitations. She filed a legal malpractice suit once she found out that he missed the claim’s statute of limitations. This case settled for $1,985,000.
- 2018, Missouri: $11,100,000 Verdict. An engraving company alleged that their counsel mismanaged their trade secrets misappropriation suit, causing them to lose their case. The suit concerned their former employee, who stole thousands of trade secret documents and shared them with their competitor. The company sued the former employee and their retained attorneys obtained an injunction against him. However, the attorneys did not obtain an injunction against their competitor but filed suit against them. The company lost its case against its competitor. They sued their attorneys, alleging legal malpractice. Specifically, they alleged they failed to retain experts that would have revealed the company’s damages and stolen trade secret documents in their competitor’s computers. The company also alleged that their attorneys stipulated the wrong jury instructions. They claimed that this also hurt their ability to win this case. The jury ruled in favor of the company and awarded them an $11,100,000 verdict.