Jury Finds Against Attorney In Legal Malpractice Case
A jury awarded an Iowa couple $3.25 million in a malpractice lawsuit against their former lawyer. A legal malpractice case is a “case within a case” and, unfortunately, the case within this legal malpractice case was tragic. The couple hired a lawyer to adopt a baby from the daughter of a co-worker. The couple was present at the baby boy’s birth and took him home from the hospital. The lawyer handling the adoption for them, however, never got the birth parents to sign release of custody paperwork, so their parental rights were never terminated.
Before the boy was three months old the birth parents decided they wanted the baby back. Because the termination papers were never signed, the adoptive parents had to return him to his birth parents. Just five weeks after the baby was returned to his birth parents he was killed by his birth father. His adoptive parents learned of the horrific news while watching a local news station. They recognized the address where a baby was found dead and knew it was their baby boy. A medical examiner determined he died from head trauma and his birth father pleaded guilty to second degree murder.
After receiving the news, the adoptive parents filed a lawsuit against the adoption attorney for legal malpractice in not getting the termination papers signed. The attorney said the birth mother just was not going to sign the papers and he could not make her do so. He maintains he did nothing inappropriate despite a jury finding against him and awarding his former clients $3.25 million in damages.
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