Phila. woman sues attorney nephew for failing to pursue prior personal injury claim

Jon Campisi Apr. 27, 2012, 7:01am

A Philadelphia woman has filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against her attorney nephew for allegedly not pursuing a personal injury claim on the plaintiff’s behalf following a motor vehicle accident, and subsequently allowing the statute of limitations on the prior civil action to expire.

Philadelphia attorney Andrew Shaw filed the malpractice claim against lawyer Joseph Green, and the Philadelphia firm he works for, the Law Offices of El-Shabazz and Harris, which is named as a codefendant in the suit.

The plaintiffs in the case are Pamela Legg and Lanisha Smart, both of Philadelphia.

The lawsuit, filed April 25 at Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas, alleges that Green failed to pursue a personal injury claim on Legg’s behalf following a June 9, 2008 car accident in which the plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by another driver who allegedly disregarded a stop sign in the area of 54th and Poplar streets in Philadelphia.

Legg called Green, her nephew, immediately following the accident, the suit states, and the attorney instructed Legg to exchange information with the other driver, contact police and then seek out medical treatment.

Green allegedly told Legg following her discharge from the hospital that the woman wouldn’t need to be formally interviewed about the incident since the two were “close relatives.”

Green then undertook representation of Legg in her pending personal injury matter, the lawsuit states.

As time progressed, however, Green failed to follow through on his representation, the complaint alleges. This included failing to obtain medical documentation and police and insurance reports, failing to attempt to settle Legg’s claims and failing to institute appropriate litigation within the time frame of the statute of limitations.

“Defendant did not follow through on his representation, nor did he ever contact any parties concerning this personal injury matter,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint accuses Green of failing to file a complaint in Legg’s personal injury case, failing to file any pleadings to protect Legg’s statute of limitations, failing to notify the appropriate parties involved in the case, failing to preserve Legg’s rights, failing to provide adequate representation, breaching a duty of care to Legg resulting in actual loss to the plaintiff, causing damage to Legg and failing to act in a manner consistent with the standard of practice for competent attorneys in the area.

The suit also accuses Green of breaching a contract with Legg, failing to keep his client informed about the case, failing to investigate claims of Legg’s personal injury action, and failing to perform proper duties and obligations undertaken.

Both plaintiffs seek $50,000 in damages from the two defendants, along with attorney’s fees and other costs.


The case ID number is 120403050. 

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