How Attorneys Can Commit Legal Malpractice When Filing for a Nonsuit
When you select a lawyer to handle your case, you trust that the lawyer not only has your best interests at heart but also that they understand the law.
Unfortunately, lawyers are human and make mistakes that can end up costing their clients dearly. One such example of this is when an attorney voluntarily requests an order for nonsuit in hopes of later refiling the case but is prevented from doing so based on a misunderstanding of the law.
At the Connecticut legal malpractice law firm of StangerLaw, LLC, Bruce Stanger has decades of experience holding lawyers accountable for the harm their negligence causes to their clients—including legal malpractice for nonsuit. While there may be nothing you can do to refile your case, we can help you hold your former attorney financially responsible for the harm you suffered.
What Is a Nonsuit?
Generally speaking, a nonsuit is a legal action that dismisses a plaintiff’s case. However, not all nonsuits have the same effect. For example, a nonsuit with prejudice marks the end of a plaintiff’s case, meaning they can no longer refile the case.
On the other hand, a nonsuit without prejudice ends the current case but enables the plaintiff to refile in the future. Nonsuits without prejudice are frequently used by attorneys when they want to make amendments to the claims contained in the lawsuit.
Nonsuit vs. Dismissal
For the most part, the terms nonsuit and dismissal are synonymous. However, usually when someone refers to their case as being “dismissed,” it is as a result of an involuntary nonsuit (with prejudice).
How Can Attorneys Commit Legal Malpractice When Filing Notice of Nonsuit?
There are a few ways that an attorney can commit legal malpractice when it comes to nonsuits. Primarily, this is because when a plaintiff nonsuits their case, the statute of limitations may continue to run, which could prevent them from refiling. Thus, it is essential that an attorney understands the law and does not end up destroying their client’s right to pursue their claims against a defendant by virtue of a voluntary nonsuit.
For example, some courts have held that if a personal injury plaintiff nonsuits their case and then refiles seeking additional damages, the case no longer relates back to the initial filing. In this situation, the statute of limitations is not tolled, and the plaintiff’s refiled case will likely be time-barred.
Another situation where this could arise is if an attorney nonsuits a case in anticipation of a settlement agreement that does not ultimately come to fruition.
Do You Have a Connecticut Legal Malpractice Case?
If your former attorney dropped the ball by improperly filing for a nonsuit, and you’re now left without the ability to pursue your case, you may have a legal malpractice claim. At StangerLaw LLC, our firm has a long history of holding lawyers to a high standard—and holding them accountable when they fail their clients.
To learn more about pursuing a claim of legal malpractice for nonsuit, and to schedule a consultation to discuss your case with a Connecticut legal malpractice attorney today, call (860) 561-0651 to speak with Bruce Stanger. You can also reach Mr. Stanger through our secure online contact form.