You just won a major legal battle on behalf of your client. You can’t wait to post about your victory on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You start typing up a long narrative of your win on your social-media pages. But wait, you think, are there any ethical rules I should consider before posting? Ethical…

Consumers who conclude that they’re underinsured often blame their insurance agents. They file lawsuits in which they blame their insurance agents for failing to advise them to, for example, purchase a policy for their boat or purchase a more comprehensive policy for their car. The central question in these lawsuits concerns the scope of insurance…

A professional-malpractice lawsuit typically names not only the firm or corporation at which the professional is employed, but also the professional in an individual capacity. Since most professionals form or join corporations to avoid personal liability, they often question why they’re being named individually—especially when they acted within the scope of their employment and for…

By Colleen H. Burke and Kara D. Moore Many retainer agreements contain an arbitration clause for the resolution of disputes that arise from the attorney-client relationship. The Michigan State Bar Ethics Committee takes the position that arbitration clauses, in general, are unethical. Michigan courts, on the other hand, find arbitration clauses to be valid, enforceable,…

Late last year, the Court of Appeals issued a published decision in Broz v Plante & Moran, PLLC, which provided some much-needed clarity regarding the applicable standards for accountant-malpractice claims. (See our post about Broz here.)  But that clarity was short-lived, as the Supreme Court recently issued an order vacating part of the decision. At…

Attorneys routinely use settlement demands as a method to resolve cases without the time commitment and cost associated with protracted litigation. But at a certain point, the language of a settlement demand may cross the line from mere negotiation strategy into illegal extortion. This is particularly true when the settlement demand includes a threat of…

Most lawsuits against attorneys involve tort claims that fall under the legal-malpractice umbrella. Yet clients often allege another tort: breach of fiduciary duty. The Court of Appeals has recognized that a breach-of-fiduciary-duty claim may be separate and distinct from a legal-malpractice claim. But at the same time, the Court of Appeals has also recognized that…

In litigation, there are limited circumstances that require an attorney to withdraw from representation of a client. Barring these circumstances, most of which commonly involve illegal or fraudulent conduct on the part of the client, the attorney may still find herself seeking termination of the attorney-client relationship. With the permission of the court, the attorney…

There are some saints in the legal profession. Attorneys who accept appointments to represent the best interests of a minor in child-protective proceedings are among them. Their work isn’t lucrative, and the stakes are exceptionally high. Collins Einhorn attorneys recently prevailed in an immunity defense of such an attorney―establishing new, controlling precedent in the process….

The Legislature created the Michigan Consumer Protection Act to identify and prevent unfair trade practices in consumer transactions. The Act identifies over 37 types of conduct that are defined as “unfair” and “deceptive” when committed in the course of transactions for personal, family, or household services, among others. MCPA violations have been assessed against a…

Malpractice defendants often find themselves with a lot of company. When a transaction seems to go awry, aggrieved plaintiffs may sue every professional involved—accountants, lawyers, consultants, and their respective firms. With multiple defendants, there’s a possibility that the court will issue multiple orders resolving the plaintiff’s claims. For example, the court might grant summary disposition…

Under Michigan law, the (former) client in a legal-malpractice action must prove that the attorney actually caused her injury. That means the client must prove that she would’ve achieved a better result “but for” the attorney’s alleged malpractice. The concept of but-for causation is most prevalent in the context of litigation, where the attorney’s alleged…

In the seminal case of Simko v Blake, the Michigan Supreme Court defined the parameters of what’s become known as the “attorney-judgment rule” in the legal-malpractice context. The Court held that an attorney isn’t liable for “mere errors in judgment” if the attorney had a good faith, honest belief that his or her acts or…

Previously, under the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Glazer v. Chase Home Financial LLC, Michigan lenders and attorneys who sought non-judicial foreclosures were treated like any other “debt collector” under the FDCPA. This meant that even if the lender or attorney sent an initial communication required by statute, that communication also had to contain the “mini-Miranda”…

Ordinarily, a Michigan attorney who is disciplined in another state or federal jurisdiction will face discipline in Michigan, too. Michigan attorneys also have a duty to report discipline in other state or federal jurisdictions. But what happens when the other jurisdiction imposing discipline is a tribal court—a judicial body of one of America’s sovereign tribes?…

A lawyer’s retention agreement has two general purposes.  It memorializes what the lawyer has advised the client regarding the objectives of the representation, the way those objectives will be pursued, and the anticipated costs.  But it also protects the lawyer against potential malpractice claims.  A carefully-drafted agreement can be a lethal arrow in a lawyer’s…

Suppose you’re an architect hired to design a new condominium development in a township. The township approved your plans, and the development is built and occupied more than three years ago.  Four years go by since you stopped providing services without a whisper of a problem. But then your firm is served with a lawsuit…

Accountants, like other licensed professionals, can be sued for malpractice. But cases involving accounting malpractice are few and far between. Until recently, there’s been scarce guidance from Michigan appellate courts about the applicable standards for accountant-malpractice claims. The Court of Appeals recently issued a published decision in which it provided some much-needed guidance regarding accountant-malpractice…

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; Attorneys Class-action attorneys often use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as a tool to turn minor, technical violations into substantial settlements. Chief among these tools are omissions of the “Notice of Debt” requirements—statements so ubiquitous that they’ve been nicknamed “Mini-Miranda” notices. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector’s initial…

Attorneys retained to provide expert support or testimony aren’t immune from malpractice claims under the witness-immunity doctrine simply because their services included or intended to include expert testimony. That’s the gist of the Michigan Court of Appeals’ decision in Voutsaras v Bender, one of the first published decisions this year. That legal-malpractice case arose out…

Collins Einhorn Farrell is pleased to announce the launch of Pros for Pros, a professional-liability blog. Our contributors are skilled and seasoned professional-liability attorneys who have built a strong reputation of success and earned the respect of Michigan’s trial and appellate judiciary. Our blog posts contain tips and tools for professionals, pointers on avoidance of…

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