Injured man's post-settlement malpractice case is dismissed
Richard Robinson's car was rear-ended on I-696 by a semi. He allegedly suffered a closed head injury. Ostensibly, his attorneys at the Gursten Koltonow law firm showed inadequate passion in its pursuit. At case evaluation in Oakland County, the value was placed at $40,000.00, which Robinson rejected. At mediation, it settled for $97,000.00. Robinson then sued his attorneys, arguing that he was forced into an inadequate settlement.
Robinson argued that the lawyers were ill-prepared, displayed inadequate knowledge of the pertinent law, were unfamiliar with the facts of his case and made judgments that were not in his best interest. He documented the fact that there was one million dollars of coverage on the at-fault truck, provided an accounting suggesting $900,000.00 in lost income, and produced an affidavit from a former circuit judge arguing that the value of the case, with proper representation, was between $250,000 and 1,000.000 dollars.
The Trial Court ruled that Robinson had ample time, after the legal relationship soured, to pursue new counsel and avoid settlement, and that the facts he alleged, even if true, did not constitute malpractice. Surprisingly, the Appeals Court did not reach this issue and instead held that Robinson's lawsuit was filed too late because the firm's representation ended when the underlying case was dismissed and BEFORE THE SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS WERE DISTRIBUTED.