Monday, January 12, 2009
A Massachusetts attorney was indefinitely suspended for mishandling a claim of medical malpractice on behalf of a client. After the case had been dismissed, the lawyer embarked on a eight year pattern of misrepresenting the status of the case to the (obviously very trusting) client:
The respondent was retained by the client in March 1997 to file a medical malpractice action against a physician for permanent and disfiguring injuries received as a result of surgery performed on the client. The respondent filed a complaint. A medical malpractice tribunal was scheduled for November 25, 1998. The respondent failed to present an Offer of Proof and a finding was issued for the physician, which was adopted and entered by the court.
The respondent failed to inform the client that the tribunal found for the physician and failed to take any steps to preserve the client’s lawsuit. The physician’s counsel filed a Motion to Dismiss that the respondent did not oppose and that was granted by the court. A Judgment of Dismissal of the client’s case was entered on January 22, 1999.
The respondent not only failed to inform the client that her case had been dismissed, but repeatedly and intentionally misrepresented the status of the case to the client from 1999 through 2007. In April 2007, the respondent was administratively suspended from the Bar of the Commonwealth for failure to pay her registration fees. After this suspension, the respondent continued to make misrepresentations to the client, including the existence of fictitious settlement discussions with the physician’s counsel and insurer. Following the administrative suspension, the respondent also failed to comply with the suspension order.
The lawyer also had failed to cooperate with the bar's investigation. (Mike Frisch)