A jury recently found a lawyer employed by Morgan & Morgan law firm liable for $5 million dollars in damages. Morgan & Morgan attorney Armando Lauritano had been representing the Bradenton couple Shawna and Rock Pollock Sr. in a medical malpractice case when she and her child, Rock Pollock Jr. suffered significant injuries while she was in labor in November 2006. After mishandling their case and losing them potential millions in compensation for injuries due to legal malpractice, the Pollocks sued Morgan & Morgan for said legal malpractice and have since been awarded $5 million in damages.
The Pollocks’ Medical Malpractice Claim
When Shawna and Rock Pollock Sr. were expecting a child in November of 2006 they experienced a truly tragic series of events that lead to Shawna and their child Rock Jr. suffering severe injury due to medical malpractice. When Shawna Pollock went into labor, her uterus ruptured after an emergency C-section was called for much too late into her childbirth procedure.
A uterine rupture is a rare but serious birth complication where the mother’s uterus tears and the baby can slip into the mother’s abdomen causing injury. A baby that slips into a mother’s abdomen will not be able to breathe and if not promptly removed, it can asphyxiate and die or, in the Pollocks’ case, suffer brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. The mother also suffers injury to her uterus, and her reproductive capabilities are severely compromised by a uterine rupture.
Due to the injuries that the Pollocks suffered because of a late cesarean section, they decided to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the obstetrics practice, nurse-midwife, and hospital that were involved in the childbirth. They were represented by Armando Lauritano who eventually withdrew from representing them after it became Rock Jr. would qualify for no-fault benefits from the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, and the statute of limitations for Shawna Pollock to seek compensation for her injuries was passed.
The Pollocks’ Legal Malpractice Lawsuit
Eventually, the Pollocks came to sue Morgan & Morgan for legal malpractice with the assistance of Donald St. Denis, a Jacksonville-based attorney. St. Denis made the claim that Armand Lauritano was so intent on securing a large, potentially multimillion-dollar verdict in the underlying medical malpractice case involving the injuries to Rock Pollock Jr. that he neglected the parents’ injuries and in doing so had ended up costing them a potentially multimillion-dollar settlement.
St. Denis said that in addition to neglecting the parental injury aspect of the case Armand Lauritano’s withdrawal left the Pollocks in a precarious legal position and subjected them to severe financial hardship. Additionally, the mother’s injuries deprived Pollock and her husband of the ability to be intimate as well as have more children.
The Pollocks’ side of the case argues that Armand Lauritano is guilty of legal malpractice because he failed to focus on Shawna Pollock’s injuries instead of just the boy’s. Her injuries led to her not being able to have other children. They argue that Armand Lauritano should have filed an affidavit that detailed Shawna Pollock’s injuries so that her medical malpractice injury claim would have been preserved, which would have allowed the couple a chance to win their medical malpractice lawsuit.
Morgan & Morgan Found Liable for $5 Million
On October 17th, a verdict was reached that held that if the medical malpractice case of the Pollocks had proceeded to trial, the gynecology office and midwife would have owed $4.5 million in damages to the Pollocks, while the Sarasota County Public Hospital District would have been responsible for $500,000.
It maintained that due to Armand Lauritano and Morgan & Morgan mishandling the Pollocks’ medical malpractice claim, they were liable for the $5 million that the Pollocks potentially could have gotten from their claim. Morgan & Morgan wishes to appeal the verdict and its founder, John Morgan, stated: “We fully expect to win outright on appeal and have a judgment entered by the appellate courts in our favor.” Only time will tell how this case will turn out for the Pollocks and the Orlando-based Morgan & Morgan law firm when the appeal is made.
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What Is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice happens when an attorney handles a case inappropriately due to negligence or with intent to harm and causes damages to a client. Just because a lawyer makes a mistake or is somewhat incompetent, does not mean that they are committing legal malpractice.
In order for a lawyer to commit legal malpractice, they have to be negligent which means that they will have made a mistake or failed to do something that an otherwise competent lawyer of their level would not have done. Legal malpractice is similar to medical malpractice cases in that comparison is usually key in determining negligence. If what a lawyer did or didn’t do was something their contemporaries would not have done themselves then it could be considered legal malpractice because the lawyer had a breach of duty in terms of legal standards in comparison to other lawyers.
In addition to negligence, legal malpractice requires a relationship between a client and attorney, a financial loss, and a definitive causation of that financial loss because of said negligence. This means that it needs to be proven that what the lawyer did or didn’t do directly ruined a potential financial reward from a case that was otherwise ruined. This can often be more difficult than it seems since you would have to prove a case’s potential which is not exactly always set in stone.
Seek an Experienced Florida Legal Malpractice Attorney Today
While cases like this are not common, it’s important to know your legal rights when you have been injured. If you believe your attorney may not have your best interests in mind, call us at (727)451-6900 or email us through our Contact Us page to schedule a free consultation. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we stand for your rights.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765