Serious Representation For Your Legal Disputes

Missed deadlines: honest mistake or legal malpractice?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | Legal Malpractice

A typical lawsuit is a months-long process. The court sets the schedule that includes several key deadlines for filing and serving documents. As the plaintiff or defendant, you rely on your attorney to keep everything organized and on track in case the litigation goes to trial.

These deadlines matter. Missing one can sink your claim or at least greatly damage it. That’s what happened to one of the litigators in a lawsuit between former business partners who has sued his former attorneys for $1.1 billion.

Missed filings, forged documents

The plaintiff in this legal malpractice case was awarded $2.1 million in damages in the original lawsuit. But he contends that he would have received more than $1 billion in compensatory and punitive damages if his lawyers had not failed to submit a damages report to the court by December 2016. Instead, according to his malpractice suit, his attorneys filed the reports the following month. They then forged documents to make it seem like the defendant had agreed to an extension and filed them with the judge and magistrate overseeing the case.

The deception failed. In his ruling, the judge excluded the damages report because the attorneys missed an “unambiguous deadline for expert disclosure” with no valid excuse.

Unreasonable delays can cost you millions

Judges set strict schedules for filings to keep litigation moving as quickly as possible. A lawyer’s failure to meet reasonable deadlines can cost you or your business the compensation you deserve or force you to pay unjust damages. When the merits of your case become secondary to careless mistakes like late filings, you might have a legal malpractice claim.