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El Segundo California Legal Malpractice Blog

50 Cent says sex tape lawsuit led to bankruptcy

California residents may be aware of the legal battle between rappers 50 Cent and Rick Ross. 50 Cent was ordered to pay $7 million for leaking a sex tape that featured Lastonia Leviston, the mother of Ross' child. Now, 50 Cent is accusing Ross of depriving the court of pertinent information that he says would prove Ross leaked the tape first. At the same time, 50 Cent is suing his former lawyers for malpractice in the case.

50 Cent has reportedly attempted to serve Ross with five subpoenas that would require Ross to hand in documents and take a deposition. However, Ross has claimed that he has no documents to turn in, and attempts to reach him with a subpoena have failed.

Attorneys face legal malpractice lawsuit in fraud case

A California attorney who fails to represent a client competently may be subject to a malpractice lawsuit in the same way a medical professional might be. Legal malpractice might also be alleged if an attorney acts improperly to protect clients who are engaged in illegal behavior. This is the case in a lawsuit filed in Florida dealing with a number of redevelopment projects financed by immigrant investors.

The receiver for a ski resort has filed a lawsuit against the attorneys who represented the men associated with the properties, including the former owner of the ski resort and the resort's CEO and president. The receiver says that with the lawsuit, he is trying to recoup the money lost by investors. According to investigators, the men raised $350 million in the EB-5 program and misused $200 million of it. The receiver is accusing the attorneys of breaching their fiduciary duty and legal malpractice.

Is a legal malpractice lawsuit worth pursuing?

You place a lot of trust into an attorney when you turn to them for help. If your lawyer underperforms or doesn't meet your expectations, you could lose faith in them. However, if the case did not go according to plan, it does not automatically mean legal malpractice occurred.

Before taking action against your lawyer, it is imperative that you have evidence to support your claim. Asking yourself these three questions may help you decide if pursuing a malpractice claim is worth it.

Can your attorney's emotions result in legal malpractice?

The court process is often an emotional matter, regardless of which side you are on. California lawyers are human too, and they are not immune to feeling strong emotions about the things going on in their lives, which can include the court cases they are involved in. While it may be understandable for you to become emotionally overwhelmed in court, it is your attorney's responsibility to remain professional and composed. 

Clients should always know what they are paying for

Those who are involved in legal matters in California and throughout the country are generally required to pay their own attorney fees. In some cases, those fees will be paid from a portion of any compensation a person receives in a settlement or after a trial. This is known as a contingency fee case. Regardless of how an attorney is to be paid, a written fee agreement should be created before that person is hired.

The main purpose of the written agreement is to ensure that an individual knows what he or she is paying for. It also allows a client to better understand the process of approving expenses such as hiring an expert witness. Clients should be told why spending money on a deposition or anything else would benefit them. Ideally, an attorney will provide a client with billing statements on a routine basis as a legal matter unfolds.

Understanding legal malpractice for commingling funds

Californians who hire a law firm for representation in a case have the right to expect professional behavior that is within the law. Legal mistakes might happen and it is important to understand when those mistakes are sufficiently severe to warrant a filing of legal malpractice. Mishandling client funds is a frequent reason for a legal filing.

It is a legal violation if the attorney has been commingling funds. This occurs if the lawyer mixes his or her money with the money in a client’s trust fund. If an advance fee is paid to cover the legal fees, it does not count as commingling. When there has been a bill from the attorney to the client and the amount owed is known, the money is the attorney’s and must be removed from the trust account.

Examples of legal malpractice

Attorneys in California and throughout the country are generally required to act as a fiduciary. This means that they are supposed to act in a client's best interest at all times. If this doesn't happen, it could rise to the level of legal malpractice. Malpractice may occur if an attorney represents multiple parties in a case, and this can be problematic because it may interfere with his or her ability to act in an independent manner.

A conflict of interest could occur when a lawyer represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate or business transaction. It could also occur when an attorney represents both parties in a divorce case. In some cases, an attorney may not be able to identify who the client is. This is not unheard of in cases involving a trust or a company that has evolved from a partnership to a corporate entity.

Third-party sellers, the supply chain and product liability

Shopping online has become one of the primary ways many people shop, and you may prefer it to shopping at the traditional "brick and mortar" retail stores in California. If you purchase a defective product that injures you, you should have just as much right to recover damages as if you bought the product at the store down the street from you. At Lange Law Corporation, we often counsel clients on their options in a product liability lawsuit. 

Legal malpractice is prevalent, but filing for it has a deadline

In the news recently are the results of a legal malpractice case that played out in California court. Plaintiff Elise Sharon claimed legal malpractice against her former lawyer Peter Porter. And guess what? He admitted to it. Which you’d think would make for a cut and dry case, right? Unfortunately, Sharon did not meet the statute of limitations for suing for legal malpractice. Thus, a tumultuous story had a less than happy ending.

The results from Sharon’s case are not an anomaly, and neither is legal malpractice. But filing a case for legal malpractice can be intimidating. After all, you’re going up against a legal professional in a court of law. It is manageable, provided a plaintiff follows the rules provided. As can be seen with Sharon’s story, meeting deadlines is extremely important.

What can I do if I suffer an injury from a product?

When you buy a product, you expect it to perform in the way the manufacturer indicates. Yet, every year, people suffer from injuries caused by malfunctioning and defective products. If you have a terrible experience with a product in California, then you have a right to seek compensation through the court from the manufacturer. 

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