Legal Malpractice Case Study

Good Essays
I. When can a client successfully bring a legal malpractice suit?
Rule: In order for a client to successfully bring a legal malpractice suit they must show the required elements of legal malpractice which are “(1) an attorney-client relationship; (2) a duty owed to the client by the attorney to use such skill, prudence, and diligence as lawyers of ordinary skill and capacity possess in exercising and performing the tasks which they undertake; (3) a breach of that duty; (4) the breach being the proximate cause of the client's damages; and (5) actual loss or damage resulting from the negligence.” Mainor v. Nault, 101 P.3d 308, 310 (Nev. 2004).

Roadmap: This memo will only discuss elements 2-5 in that order, in addition the duty and breach element
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McDonald, Allyn was suing her attorney, McDonald, for legal malpractice due to McDonald’s alleged failure to timely file a personal injury claim. Allyn v. McDonald, 910 P.2d 263, 266 (Nev. 1996). The court initially granted summary judgement on behalf of McDonald since Allyn failed to bring an expert witness to show the breach of duty. Id. It was then established that “although expert evidence is generally required in legal malpractice to establish attorney’s breach of care, exception exists in cases where breach of care or lack thereof is so obvious that it may be determined by court as a matter of law. Id. In the case of Malfabon v. Garcia, legal malpractice action was being taken against Garcia since he allegedly failed to adequately investigate as well as ascertain the value of the case in negotiating settlement. Malfabon v. Garcia, 898 P.2d 107 (Nev. 1995). Furthermore, the court decided that even after settlement of a case, a legal malpractice action can still be brought. Id. Finally, rules 1.1 and 1.4 of the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct require an attorney to be competent and to properly communicate with their client. Nev. R. Prof’l. Conduct 1.1,…show more content…
Nault, the parents of a man in a permanent vegetative state sued the attorneys representing him in his initial medical malpractice case for legal malpractice, but they failed to show proximate cause. Mainor v. Nault, 101 P.3d 308, 310 (Nev. 2004). Mainor v. Nault establishes that there needs to be a clear proximate cause between the attorney’s actions and the clients who suffered damages. Id. The case of Slaughter v. Coffing indicates that there needs to be an argument proving that malpractice was the proximate cause of damages. Slaughter v. Coffing, No.68911, 2017 WL 462250, at *3 (Nev. App. Jan. 24, 2017).
RA: It seems that the most obvious reason Joyce did not get child support was due to Brenner’s failure to demand it during the divorce proceedings. His lack of prudence and diligence directly caused Joyce to lose out on support she would have benefitted from. Although the two cases mentioned above both fail to show proximate cause, Joyce does have a strong argument that shows Brenner’s negligence was the direct cause of her inability to receive child support.
Conclusion: The precedents set by the cases above require proof that the attorney’s negligence directly caused the damages to the client, Joyce will likely be able to prove the direct link between Brenner’s negligence and her
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