Oregonians may sue their lawyers for breach of fiduciary duty if the attorney is disloyal in a way that causes a loss.
Suing a lawyer for Breach of Contract
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: Hire a lawyer. This article is no substitute, and everyone’s situation differs.
What is a fiduciary and a fiduciary duty?
A fiduciary is someone who owes another a special duty, such as attorneys or a legal guardian. Attorneys owe clients a duty of undivided loyalty, good faith, fair dealing and full, fair and frank disclosures. As a fiduciary, attorneys must put your interests above their own interests. Attorneys owe you their undivided loyalty.
How does breach of fiduciary duty differ from legal malpractice / negligence?
Legal malpractice differs from a breach of fiduciary duty. Legal malpractice is a failure of competence. Disloyalty or self-dealing breaches the duty of a fiduciary.
When proving a case in court, legal malpractice claims usually require the client to hire an expert witness (another attorney) to explain to juries how the lawyer was incompetent. Expert witnesses are not required to prove disloyalty.
How does an attorney breach his or her fiduciary duty?
There are many, many ways to breach fiduciary duty. Mostly, they fall under two umbrellas: (1) putting the interests of the attorney above the client or (2) helping another person whose interests conflict with the client’s interests without full disclosure and approval of all. (Some conflicts are so direct that attorneys are not permitted to proceed even with full disclosure and permission.)
The breach must actually cause harm to the client.
Finding a lawyer to sue a lawyer.
Every claim has strict time limitations. If a claim is not made on time, it is lost forever.
Merrick Law helps people evaluate claims against lawyers and sue attorneys when they won’t settle meritorious claims. Feel free to contact us using the message form.
Jeff Merrick, Oregon Litigation Attorney
©2018 by Merrick Law, LLC and Jeff Merrick. The above is not intended as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Reading it or attempting to contact Jeff Merrick not mean Jeff Merrick or Merrick Law, LLC is your attorney. You become our client only after we sign a written contract.