Thursday, July 5, 2007

Assignment Of Malpractice Claims

In an appeal of a legal malpractice case arising from the mishandling of an attempted mortgage foreclosure, the Florida Supreme Court held that the assignment of the mortgage and note did not create standing to sue the attorney for malpractice. The acts of alleged malpractice had occured prior to the attorney's representation of the assignee. The court affirmed that legal malpractice claims are generally not assignable. The policy concerns against such assignments are protecting client confidences and preventing a market for legal malpractice claims. There are a series of dissenting opinions, one noting that the legal services at issue were not personal in nature and thus there is no policy concern about protecting confidential information. Another dissenter states: "it would be difficult for an outside observer not to conclude [that the holding] serves only to protect a clearly negligent attorney at the expense of the mortgage holders, who were engaged in legitimate commercial transactions." (Mike Frisch)

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