Today, a Federal Court Judge in Manhattan denied an attorney's motion to dismiss a legal malpractice action filed against him by a very disgruntled client. The client was injured by a garbage compactor,during the course of his job. He received workers compensation benefits which included lost wages and medical expenses in the sum of $232,000. The law is clear that at least two-thirds of that sum must be repaid out of any settlement recovered in a personal injury action. The attorney settled the case for $52,000. The net result stinks--the attorney would receive a legal fee of approximately $17,000, the worker's compensation carrier would get approximately $35,000 - but - the client gets nothing?
The client contended that when he agreed to the $52,000 settlement his lawyer had not explained that he would not receive a penny. The attorney claimed that the legal malpractice case should be dismissed because the client agreed to the settlement. Whose version of the attorney - client conversation authorizing the settlement is dubious? What in the world would motivate any sane client to give up their right to a trial, if the proposed settlement resulted in everyone getting paid except him?