Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Employment Law Case That Just Keeps On Going

Lawsuits that stretch out over the years are not all that uncommon, but the tale that started with a discrimination law suit that was settled in 1997, just had another major development, a $4.9 million dollar malpractice verdict against the attorneys who represented the initial claimant in her earlier successful malpractice claim against her original attorneys. 12 Years of Persistence Rewarded With $4.9 Million Verdict in Malpractice Case.

If I understood it all, here's a little bit more about the sequence:
  • Jackie Young, is part of a group that sued BellSouth for racial discrimination. Plaintiff's counsel was the firm of Ruden McClosky.
  • In that case each plaintiff, including Young, received about $5,000 each.
  • Those plaintiffs later learned that their attorneys had received $120,000 a year for 4 years, entered into a consulting agreement with BellSouth and agreed not to file any more employment cases against the company for one year.
  • The original plaintiffs hired Becker & Poliakoff to sue the Ruden McClosky firm for malpractice.
  • That case was settled for $8 million in 2002 with the proceeds split between 54 plaintiffs.
  • During the settlement negotiations of that case, Becker & Poliakoff sued BellSouth on behalf of Young alleging continuing discrimination. That suit was dismissed when Becker & Poliakoff failed to respond to BellSouth's motion to dismiss.
  • Young did not find about the dismissal for a year, she claimed because Becker & Poliakoff did not want to jeopardize the settlement of the first malpractice claim and their $2.6 million dollar fee.
  • Now a verdict has been returned in the 2nd malpractice case, this one by Young against Becker & Poliakoff for the way her individual case was handled. The verdict $4.9 million.

It of course will be appealed.


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