Client hires law firm to sue a hospital in Pennsylvania for medical malpractice arising out of a back surgery. The medical malpractice case is dismissed because the law firm failed to file a certificate indicating that a medical expert believed there was malpractice. So, the client next sues the law firm for legal malpractice in not retaining a medical expert. To win this legal malpractice case, the client must retain a medical expert who will say that the medical malpractice claim was meritorious. The law firm defends the claim of legal malpractice by arguing that no medical expert would have supported the client's case anyway.
In an ironic twist, the second lawyer to represent the client lost the legal malpractice case for failing to be ready to proceed to trial with a medical expert. The second attorney did indeed timely retain a medical expert. However, that expert was disqualified because he was not qualified to testify under the local rules requiring the expert to maintain an active practice in the same sub-specialty as the defendant physician. Now the client's only recourse is a legal malpractice action against the legal malpractice attorney. Rutyna v Schweers, August 10, 2017