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Not Consulting Client Costs Md. Lawyer a Losing Malpractice Case

Posted Oct 15, 2008 6:53 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Although experts said Donald Sturgill didn't have a viable medical malpractice claim for ailments he suffered after being treated and released for a boating accident, his lawyer managed to get him a $15,000 settlement.

That proved to be a costly experience for attorney Robert Joyce and his former employer, the Sudler Law Firm—but not nearly as costly as it might have been, according to the Daily Record.

Because Joyce didn't get his client's permission before accepting the $15,000 settlement, Sturgill named both as defendants in a legal malpractice suit. A Baltimore City Circuit Court found that the $15,000 settlement was more than Sturgill's alleged injuries from the claimed medical malpractice were worth, yet nonetheless determined that Joyce was negligent in accepting the settlement without consulting first with Sturgill.

"It held the lawyer responsible for $6,887.43 in medical damages, and added another $15,000 in non-economic damages," the Daily Record reports.

Sturgill had sought $1.25 million in damages in the legal malpractice case.

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