Wednesday, June 11, 2008

File Retention Not Malpractice

The Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim brought by a client who retained the attorney to represent him in a habeas corpus claim that had been filed pro se. After receiving thirteen boxes of materials, the "relationship deteriorated" and the lawyer was granted permission to withdraw. The client informed the lawyer that he wished the boxes be provided to his new attorney, but the representation by new counsel was not confirmed. When the malpractice suit was filed, the boxes were transferred to the attorneys defending the suit.

When the appearence of new counsel was confirmed, the attorney instructed his malpractice lawyers to transfer the boxes. Copies of the contents were made prior to the transfer. The client then filed a 44 count complaint "all in connection with the defendant's possession of the boxes" during the period prior to the transfer to new counsel. The complaint alleged, among other things, theft, larceny, conversion, civil conspiracy and deprivation of civil rights. The court found that the trial court had properly granted summary judgment on the claims. (Mike Frisch)

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