It is not uncommon in the practice of law for a client to be
represented by more than one attorney at a firm on a legal matter.
For instance, a client might be assigned two litigation lawyers
where one attorney acts as the first chair on the client’s case and
the second lawyer is second chair. Each assigned lawyer is tasked
with providing competent counsel. That is not to say that two
lawyers are better than one; both lawyers could make careless
mistakes or act negligently regarding the client’s case and prompt
a legal malpractice lawsuit.
Suing Multiple Lawyers for Legal Malpractice can Create
Suing more than one lawyer in a legal malpractice lawsuit is
generally permitted, but it can raise unique issues. For instance,
a recent legal malpractice lawsuit in the Madison
County Circuit Court is dealing with this issue. Christopher Nolan
is suing his former lawyers, Amanda Verett and Michael Reid, but
has filed a motion to disqualify the legal malpractice defense
lawyer simultaneously representing both Verett and Reid because
they have asserted conflicting defenses.
Underlying Legal Action: Lawyer’s Breach of
The underlying case involves botched aspects of Nolan’s divorce
from his ex-wife in 2008. Verett obtained ex parte relief in a
Madison County Court against Nolan’s ex-wife to stop a medical
procedure that his child was scheduled to receive at a Missouri
hospital. After the Madison County court handled the matter, Verett
then petitioned a St. Louis City Circuit Court to enjoin the son’s
medical procedure. Verett did not inform the St. Louis court that
the matter had already been handled by the Madison County court.
The St. Louis Court granted the injunction, but once it was
discovered that the Madison County court had already handled the
matter, the Judge had the case dismissed.
During all of this, Verett billed Nolan for her time, as did
Reid. Nolan also was required to pay court costs in both Madison
County and St. Louis. According to Nolan, Verett’s actions were a
breach of her contract with him because she charged him nearly
$20,000 for services in St. Louis that provided no benefit to him
Why Must the Two Attorneys be Represented
Nolan asserts that Verett and Reid cannot be represented by the
same lawyer because they have antagonistic defenses. Specifically,
Verett does not have legal malpractice insurance while Reid does
have legal malpractice insurance. Due to this unequal footing, the
two lawyers will likely have a conflict when it comes to allocating
responsibility for Nolan’s claims.
Have a Legal Malpractice Claim? We Can Help
Whether you are wronged or financially injured by one or more
lawyers, if you have been the victim of legal malpractice, you need
to consult with a legal malpractice lawyer immediately. If you
believe that you have a legal malpractice claim against your former
attorney, you can contact the Patterson Law Firm to
discuss how we can help you.