Monday, March 17, 2014

Subjective Belief No Basis For Malpractice

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment to the defendants in a legal malpractice claim

 On February 27, 2007, petitioner retained respondent to represent him in a possible claim against Concord University. Petitioner had applied for a plumber’s position at Concord in October of 2006. Concord hired another applicant for the position in January of 2007. Petitioner believed that Concord’s failure to hire him constituted retaliation for his earlier filing of a successful wage claim against one of Concord’s contractors.

Respondent did not file such an action on petitioner’s behalf, nor did respondent timely inform petitioner that its investigation did not support a claim of retaliation, prior to the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations on petitioner’s potential cause of action. In April of 2010, respondent met with petitioner and explained that there was no proof to support his claim. Respondent also advised petitioner that the statute of limitations had run on filing a retaliation claim...


This Court notes that respondent failed to file an action on petitioner’s behalf after respondent’s investigation revealed that petitioner possessed no viable cause of action. Petitioner obviously disagrees with his former attorney’s assessment of his claim; however, petitioner’s subjective belief that he had a viable action does not constitute evidence that he did.

(Mike Frisch)

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