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Lawyer missed major deadline, client files legal malpractice suit

When people in New Jersey hire a lawyer, they expect him or her to be competent and certainly understand the legal procedures and deadlines involved in a case.

Recently, a man who was suing his employer for discrimination saw his lawsuit dismissed because his lawyer had reportedly missed a major filing deadline. He is now suing that lawyer for legal malpractice.

The case is taking place in Texas, where the client--a former college professor--believed he was denied tenure by the college where he taught because of his gender. Last February, an appeals court granted the college immunity because the professor did not file his claim within the statute of limitations. Under Texas law, the professor needed to file his discrimination complaint with the Texas Commission on Human Rights no later than 180 days after the alleged discriminatory action.

The complaint was filed seven months late, which the former professor is saying was his attorney's fault for not providing proper guidance to file the complaint earlier. The man reportedly paid his lawyer $10,000 for his legal counsel.

The former professor is now suing that lawyer for an unreported amount. He is alleging that the lawyer is guilty of gross negligence and legal malpractice.

A trial date was scheduled for this week, but the defendant has asked that it be rescheduled due to a conflict.

When an attorney fails to meet standards of practice by doing things such as missing a deadline and violating a statute of limitations, the results can be financially and emotionally damaging for the client.

Source: Southeast Texas Record, "Continuance sought in malpractice suit over botched gender discrimination claim," David Yates, Feb. 22, 2012

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