Sunday, September 21, 2003

10 Things Your Lawyer Won't Tell You
Take a look at number nine....
"Wanna sue me? Oops — you signed that away."
Most lawyers are competent and ethical. But what if yours screws up? Can you sue him? Not if you agreed to submit disputes to arbitration, where the rules of law and evidence don't always apply, and you'll have neither the right to a jury nor perhaps even the right to appeal.

Many lawyers insert compulsory arbitration provisions in their retainer agreements, which isn't necessarily unethical, according to the ABA, providing that the agreement doesn't insulate the lawyer from liability and the client understands what it means. Such a clause should be a warning for you to take your business elsewhere.

Inventor Walter R. Fields says he didn't realize he was giving up his right to sue when he hired Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, a large Minneapolis law firm, to sue the builder of his mold-infested $1.2 million house. Disappointed when he lost his case, Fields tried to sue Maslon Edelman for malpractice, claiming, among other things, that the firm had failed to submit evidence of the mold in time. But in 2001 a Minneapolis court refused to hear the case because of an arbitration clause in Fields's retainer agreement. Fields also came up empty after arbitrators rejected his claim and two courts upheld the arbitration. He has declined to discuss the case further until he has exhausted all possible legal remedies. Maslon Edelman denies malpractice, claiming the mold was a side issue, and defends the arbitration clause, saying that Fields had weeks to review the agreement with a lawyer before signing

Why wouldn't this work for physicians? I seem to recall an uproar over a physician's requirement that his patients signed away their right to sue before he would see them. (I've tried unsuccsessfully to find a link, anybody have one?) I think that thisis sauce for the gander myself.
via Overlawyered
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