Georgia Lawyer Goes to Trial for Client He's Never Even Spoken With

11/17/2008 | Legal Malpractice

Here is an interesting legal malpractice case out of Georgia.  It seems that Donald W. Osborne was defending an automobile crash case where his client, Don Turner, was accused of causing an accident that killed someone. Here is the problem. Lawyer Osborne never contacted client Turner about the trial. In fact, he never even spoke to his client before the trial. One more thing. Lawyer Osborne stipulated (admitted) that client Tuner was negligent---even though he never spoke with his client. The jury awarded $1.7 million against the absent Turner.  By the time Turner knew about the trial it was over, and he was facing a huge judgment. 

In the legal negligence trial, Taylor W. Jones of Jones Jensen & Harris sued the former law firm alleging they bungled the car wreck defense and would have won the case if they had not commited legal malpractice. A jury agreed. 

Georgia insurance defense law firm, Swift, Currie McGehee and Hiers defended lawyer Osborne. James T. McDonald, of the Swift law firm defended Osborne.

The jury awarded Turner $991,000 against his "lawyer."

What I don't understand is why the jury only awarded half of the damages.  Generally, in cases like this, the damages in the first case establish the damages in the legal malpractice case.  Here, that should have been $1.7 million, not the $991,000 the jury awarded.

Hans Poppe