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No Damages, No Legal Malpractice

Posted May 10, 2007 8:27 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New Jersey judge has dismissed a malpractice suit against a tort lawyer that alleged a conflict of interest, saying the plaintiff had shown no damages.

Plaintiff Miguel Herrera had claimed he was in the hospital recovering from injuries from an auto accident when lawyer Jeffrey Hark of Cherry Hill, N.J., dropped in, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Herrera says he was on heavy medication when he signed the contingency fee agreement.

Herrera says he later learned that the driver he wanted to sue was the grandfather of Hark’s wife. Hark found another lawyer to represent Herrera, who settled the auto accident case for $95,000, according to Herrera's lawsuit.

That was a sufficient award, according to the Camden, N.J., judge, so Herrera had no damages.

Hark refuted Herrera’s allegations. He told the legal newspaper that he was invited to visit Herrera in the hospital, the contingency agreement was signed in his office, and he did not find the new lawyer who represented for Herrera.

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