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Legal malpractice suit: lawyer's breach led to client's murder

As we frequently discuss in this Newark Litigation and Appeals Law Blog, residents of New Jersey should be able to trust their lawyers. You hire a lawyer to protect your interests, after all, so if that lawyer fails to meet the standards of practice in handling your case it can result in damages to you. When that happens, people have the right to file legal malpractice claims against their lawyers in order to recoup damages and hold them accountable.

A legal malpractice claim that was recently filed in Maryland involves some very serious allegations. In that case, a lawyer has been accused of making a mistake that actually led to the murder of his client.

A 19-year-old man had reportedly hired the attorney in order to help him deal with minor criminal charges. The lawyer then found out that the 19-year-old planned to testify against another one of his clients in a serious criminal case involving federal identity theft and mail fraud, according to the legal malpractice lawsuit.

The claim states that the lawyer breached attorney-client privilege and told his other client that the young man planned to testify for the prosecution. Days later, the teen was shot dead after being lured into a certain area of east Baltimore in what authorities believe was a murder-for-hire scheme organized by the defendant in the identity theft and mail fraud case.

The young man's family has now sued the lawyer for legal malpractice and wrongful death.They say that by breaching attorney-client privilege and failing to protect the best interests of his client, among other things, the attorney committed legal malpractice, which ultimately caused his client's death.

The allegations in legal malpractice claims are typically less dire than those here. More often, legal malpractice claimants feel that they have been financially, emotionally or legally damaged by their attorney's actions. However, whenever a lawyer fails to meet the standards of practice for the legal profession, resulting in harm to a client, it may be possible for a client to pursue a legal malpractice lawsuit.

Source: wbaltv.com, "Man's family sues former lawyer alleging malpractice, wrongful death," May 10, 2013

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