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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