Category: Attorneys Only Posted on Aug 29, 2016

QUICK TIPS: Fess Up if You Screw Up

*This page is intended for review only by Attorneys. The information contained is incomplete. The training, experience and skills of an attorney are needed to apply the facts of any situation within the law.

Legal Obligations to Tell a Client “I Screwed Up”

Lawyers beware: You have a duty to your client to disclose if you screwed up. For an interesting theory, check out CT Statute 52-595 Fraudulent Non-Disclosure. Consider the fact that you, as a lawyer, have a duty to your client. This duty creates an obligation to consider their best interests.

Elements to Your Obligation

52-595 says the statute of limitations can be tolled while you fail to tell your client of something you know about in which they could sue you. Think about it this way: who have you not told that you screwed up? In Iacurci v. Sax, 313 Conn. 786, a 2014 Supreme Court case, the Court indicated that the elements of such a claim are:

  1. The defendant (that’s you) knew of the facts necessary to establish the plaintiff’s / client’s claim;
  2. The defendant (you again) intentionally concealed the facts from the client; and
  3. The concealment was done to delay an action against you.

How hard would it be to prove that you knew the facts and you didn’t tell the client?!

When the defendant has a fiduciary duty to disclose material facts (as attorneys do in most cases), then proving nondisclosure is sufficient to prove the second element above, making the burden on the client even less to prove his/her case against you.

Bruce Stanger

My litigation experience includes family law, divorce, product liability, construction law, professional negligence, shareholder disputes, legal malpractice, and general commercial litigation.