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View Poll Results: Have you ever been sued?
Yes 19 23.17%
No 63 76.83%
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 01:02 PM   #21
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
When I was about 10 a friend of mine was killed when he ran onto the tail fin of a 58/59 Cadillac (very pointy foot long fin). He was going out for a pass in street football and was looking back as he ran. To my knowledge the family never sued or at least they never moved from their modest house. To them it wasn't anyones "fault" - it was just a freak accident. Can you imagine that today?
Yes. I know a number of people, through work and otherwise, who would have a good PI negligence claim against someone, but they would never sue. One case even involved the death of a child.

My experience in running a law firm is that if a lawyer makes a mistake, fesses up, and does what he can to correct the mistake, odds the lawyer won't be sued. It is also unlikely for a lawyer to be sued if the lawyer has a good relationship with the client.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 03:15 PM   #22
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Martha,

How much of lawyers not getting sued is professional courtesy by the prospective plaintiff's attorney?

2Cor521
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 03:30 PM   #23
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521
Martha,

How much of lawyers not getting sued is professional courtesy by the prospective plaintiff's attorney?

2Cor521
If the lawyer really screwed up, it makes us all look bad. So I haven't seen that as the case. My office was primarily a business firm and only had a small litigation practice. I recall us suing a lawyer once for malpratice and the facts were pretty bad. He was also reported to the board of professional responsibility. We may have had more malpractice claims we brought, but I can't remember them. But I am sure we would never take such a case unless the facts were really really on the side of the plaintiff. On the other hand, my office never sued doctors for malpractice. We represented all the local hospitals and most of the local doctor practices. We also didn't sue the local architects and engineers for the same reason--most were our clients or at least worked with our clients.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 05:05 PM   #24
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Very interesting thread. I've sued and been sued. I've been on every side of the lawyer's table, as plaintiff's and defendant's counsel for a number of matters and have had an eclectric practice for almost 30 years. And I've been married to a solo practicioner for over thirty years, who has primarily practiced in domestic relations -- for its emotional content this is a very gruelling practice, day-in-day-out. Fortunately, the lawsuits against me were small claims stuff and except for one major plaintiff's case I brought on my own, I've been lucky to have avoided major litigation as a plaintiff.

The person who posted about his father leaving his OB/GYN practice early reminds me of my wife's OB/GYN. When we first started using him, he found out we were lawyers and all he wanted to talk about was medical malpractice cases -- he had been sued before and felt he had been mistreated by the process. It was kind of comical going to him -- for 30 minutes he'd engage us in medical malpractice issues and tort reform legislation, and only mentioning our health care in passing. He was truly an outstanding doctor but he was also a medical malpractice reform crusader, writing articles all over the place. Eventually, he too left his practice early -- but we were grateful for him delivering two of our three children (his partner delivered our other child, and we weren't pleased with his efforts).

Lawyers make mistakes all over the place. High priced lawyers in high priced law firms can sometimes make major blunders -- which might go unnoticed except for the very discerning. Low priced lawyers in high burn-out, highly visible areas -- like criminal defense work or domestic relations -- can make blunders too -- but they are seldom undedected. I guess this happens a lot in the medical profession too. In the late 1980's, I practiced in an area where the transactional/securitization area was so complicated that it was a malpractice minefield, if anyone could ever figure out the stuff!! If things ever blew-up, no one could figure out how the lawyers screwed-up!

And though lawyers might not get sued as often as doctors, I bet for many lawyers who practiced in the high burn-out areas, the number of "bar complaints" is very high and a nightmare for any practicing lawyer. Getting sued as a Board member or a governmental official can be a disaster if you don't have your own separate, liability coverage.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 05:46 PM   #25
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC
And I've been married to a solo practicioner for over thirty years, who has primarily practiced in domestic relations -- for its emotional content this is a very gruelling practice, day-in-day-out.
Never, no way, no how, could I do that work. No one is ever happy. Even if they want a divorce they lose stuff. If they don't want the divorce, they get one anyway and lose stuff. It can be hard to get paid.

One of my lawyer acquaintances did that kind of work and was almost killed by her client's ex husband.

Good for your spouse for filling a big need and being able to handle the turmoil.

When I was in management I would need to decide how much malpractice insurance for our office to carry. What if your bond lawyers screwed up on a tax opinion resulting in a 200 million dollar loss? Oops?

I always heard that the best practice area for a lawyer to avoid malpractice was immigration. If you screwed up your client got deported and couldn't sue you.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:31 PM   #26
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
I'm on the board of a newly-formed homeowners association. The board was discussing the cost of D & O insurance and questioning whether or not we really needed to spend money on insurance since there were much greater needs. I told them not only did we need it, but I would not serve on the board unless we had a minimum of a $1M policy. We got it.

Please explain: What is D&O insurance? and what are some common circumstances that a HOA might be sued?
Thanks!
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 08:56 PM   #27
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbabe
Please explain: What is D&O insurance? and what are some common circumstances that a HOA might be sued?
Thanks!
Directors & Officers liability insurance - protects directors and officers from liability arising from actions connected to their corporate positions.

Common circumstances for suing a HOA? Anything and everything under the sun.

One example: A condo owner had his unit on the market and was several months behind in paying association dues. The HOA posted a past due notice on his front door just prior to a RE agent bringing by an interested buyer for a second look. The prospective buyer was disturbed by the notice and decided to pass on the condo. The owner sued the HOA board for damages due to the loss of the sale.

Even if a suit is frivolous, the HOA still has to shell out $ for legal fees. The cost of D&O insurance isn't terribly expensive, especially if the HOA owns no property, which is the case for our association. We got quotes ranging from $850 to $1250 for $1M coverage.

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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 09:46 PM   #28
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Not yet. Fortunately, my practice doesn't involve much risk and few people understand what I do well enough to second guess me.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-21-2007, 10:50 PM   #29
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

When I worked in a hospital, any meeting we had had to follow a certain procedure (which I have forgotten) so that the discussion would not be discoverable. I think that any hospital gets constantly sued. I remember one case of a crack baby that didn't make it. Mother sued the hospital and IIRC, we settled for just over six figures to make her go away.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-22-2007, 07:30 AM   #30
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bssc
When I worked in a hospital, any meeting we had had to follow a certain procedure (which I have forgotten) so that the discussion would not be discoverable. I think that any hospital gets constantly sued.
For years, medical staff had a weekly meeting to review cases where the patient died. It was extremely helpful in gently identifying what, if anything, could have been done differently and it really helped us avoid the mistakes or missed opportunities of others. It was done in complete confidence, and the patient identity was protected, though in many cases we know who the patient was.

Occasionally guests would attend, in the company of trusted colleagues who would vouch for them. But over time, this got lax and strangers were tolerated as long as they "looked" like doctors. Some were plaintiff malpractice lawyers and used the conference to either identify potential clients' families, define the litigation strategy, etc. The conferences were cancelled.

Today, patient information has additional protections under HIPAA and other law but there's still a reluctance to discuss educational patient "events" if any "mea culpa" might be inferred.
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?
Old 02-22-2007, 01:52 PM   #31
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Re: Poll: Have you ever been sued?

Here's a few (although I only voted once ) :
  • Had 2 proverbial "fell down the stairs"; settled one for the medical costs (ambulance ride included) the second was already in a lawyers hand. Got the "letter". My liability company interviewed me and took some pictures; then said "call when you get the summons". Never got the summons. Buuut every time I went to the unit the tenant - and extended family - would run around saying "he's here, he's here!". I had moved twice; my address is unknown to the tenants and the city. I think they simply could not find me to summon me.
  • A couple years later - different property - I hire a guy to take down a tree on the property line. Talk to the neighbor; everything's fine. Until the neighbor's dad shows up and picks a fight with the arborist (he thinks his son owns the tree; son is away on vacation). Arborist pushes the old dude who falls then has a panick attack... ambulance, police. My company and the arborist are named in the suit. SIDE NOTE: another neighbor - old timer - pulls me aside and says not only do I own the tree, I own his steps right outside the side door "never should have subdivided those lots the way they did". Sooo I cold call my neighbor and ask what his intentions are. He says his father was "assaulted" and they want monetary damages. I said "I hope we can work this out because I am thinking of an 8 foot fence right down the property line." He dropped my company from the suit and lost the suit to the arborist.
  • Then there was a lead paint suit in a de-leaded unit. Settled that one in court for 4 months rent (most of it back rent). Evicted the tenant 6 months later for non-payment.

Like I say, this stuff is not for the weak at heart!
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