Suing your attorney? You have have to show that the debt was collectible.

On June 18, 2008, the Ohio Supreme Court held that a in order to prevail against an attorney in a malpractice action, the Plaintiff must show that the he would have won the underlying case and that the defendant in the underlying case was collectible. In Paterek v Peterson & Ibold, Mr. Paterek was injured in a car accident and hired Peterson as his lawyer. Peterson, unfortunately, missed the deadline for filing the complaint and Parterek’s claim was lost. The Defendant in the underlying case had an insurance policy of $100,000.
Parterek sued his lawyer, Peterson. The jury awarded Paterek $382,000. The trial reduced that judgment to $100,000. The Ohio Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s reduction and reinstated the full verdict. The Ohio Supreme Court cut the proverbial baby in half and reduced the judgment to include not only the $100,000 face value of the at fault driver’s policy, but added an additional $150,000, the face value of the at fault driver’s underinsured motorists’ policy.
This was a case of first impression in Ohio. This issue, unfortunately, has not been settled in Michigan.
There are some good lessons in this case for collection attorneys in Michigan. Yes, you should most certainly maintain malpractice coverage. But even more than that, a good calendaring system is your best defense to blowing deadlines.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2008 and is filed under Collection Law Firms in the News . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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