Based on your above account, the attorney has not acted properly. It is the attorney's job to advise the client and not enter into settlements on the client's behalf without a client's permission. Only clients have the authority to agree to a settlement. Even if 99 out of 100 attorneys would advise their clients to sign an agreement, if you are the 1 out of the 100 client that would not sign, then there is no settlement.
What confuses me about your question is that you claim that you never had a chance to review it prior to filing it and yet you also state that you requested changes to the agreement prior to filing it. Both of these statements cannot be true. You cannot be "forced" to sign an agreement, your signing must be voluntary. I would address this issue with the attorney and if the answers are not to your satisfaction, I would seek the counsel of another attorney.
The content of this answer should not be relied upon or used as a subsitute for consultation with professional advisors and it should be clearly understood that no attorney-client privilege has been created. A more complete answer and/or more accurate answer can only be provided in a more thorough examination of the facts in a consultation with my firm.
Your attorney should have reviewed the stipulation of Dismissal and thoroughly explained the terms of the stipulation with you prior to proposing it to the plaintiff. It also sounds as though you have not yet signed the agreement and it may be possible your attorney has good reason to not add or remove terms from it. I would contact your attorney and try to have him make the changes you want or give you a good reason why they should not be made prior to you signing the document. As far as a claim for legal malpractice, it would be difficult to determine without more facts, but unless you have suffered any damages from this attorney failing to add or remove the terms you requested, you probably do not have a claim worth pursuing. The cost to pursue legal malpractice claims, which generally require expert witnesses, can be high, and you will need to prove that you suffered damages, which will determine the value of your claim.
Ethically, your attorney's actions may be questionable, but it is impossible to determine liability for legal malpractice without more information.
I am sorry you have to deal with this. You should speak with your attorney about this issue, and if you feel you have suffered harm or damages from his failure to listen to you, contact an attorney knowledgeable in legal malpractice claims.
Did you "not review" it?
Or did you review it and request changes?
in any case: your attorney may have made an error here. If your attorney disregards your settlement instructions, it could be malpractice.
Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.
If you attorney acted without your consent, you may have to sue him,
and file a BBO complaint.
Does this answer your question?
henry lebensbaum, esq.
300 Brickstone Square, Ste 201
Andover, Ma 01810
I usually check email every few hours during the day.
(by appointment only)
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