I went into court requesting spousal support and my attorney didn't appear and sent a substitute attorney which did not know what was going on. Proper paperwork was not done. Judge got made and gave the petitioner life time spousal support. I was disabled and still am. My attorney never filed an objection and this was 4 years ago. Now there is 39 counts of contempt because I have not paid any spousal support. There was a five year restraining order intact as well. My case has been staginant for 3 years cuz my atty did nothing. Petitioner has filed bankruptcy. I still have not gotten my personal property. Petitioner is was holding $109,000 of my money from a sale of a home and my atty has done nothing.
No, not necessarily. Not every mistake constitutes malpractice. The mistake must have been one that a lawyer of ordinary skill, prudence, and diligence would not have made.
You really need to consult with a legal malpractice attorney because the greatest obstacle you have to overcome is the statute of limitations for legal malpractice. California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6 provides that an action against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services shall be commenced within one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission, or four years from the date of the wrongful act or omission whichever occurs first. In no event shall the time for the commencement of legal action exceed four years except that the period shall be tolled during the time that any of the following exist:
1. The plaintiff has not sustained an actual injury;
2. The attorney continues to represent the plaintiff regarding the specified subject matter in which the alleged wrongful act or omission occurred;
3. The attorney willfully conceals the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission when such facts are known to the attorney, except that this subdivision shall toll only the four-year limitation; and
4. The plaintiff is under a legal or physical disability which restricts the plaintiff’s ability to commence legal action.
There might be different legal causes of action with different statute of limitations periods. Because the interpretation of the law governing when a legal malpractice lawsuit must be filed is complex, it is imperative that you consult a legal malpractice attorney as soon as you can.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
I agree with my colleague. Since the statute of limitations in CA is 1 year from the date of injury, you need to see a malpractice attorney immediately to discuss the facts with you. Since the petitioner filed for bankruptcy, there would be an automatic "stay" which would prevent you or anyone else from collecting from the petitioner
If you're still represented by this attorney, you can still sue them if their negligence was the cause of your injury. But it's not their fault, for example, that you have 39 counts of contempt for not paying support, however these facts are so extreme that it's hard to believe that the attorney didn't take action on some of this. This is obviously complex factually --see a lawyer ASAP.
You should also see another family lawyer if your family law issues aren't resolved.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
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