In October 2012, Stewart A. Sutton tried a legal malpractice in Montgomery County District Court. His client sued her former attorney for mishandling her Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. After her bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to the attorney’s negligence, her wages were garnished by a judgment creditor. As a result of the additional financial stress caused by the wage garnishment, the client suffered mental distress and ensuing physical symptoms, including sleep deprivation and weight gain. The court awarded plaintiff both economic damages and non-economic damages (i.e., emotional and mental distress).
The client was also awarded $5,000 in punitive damages, because she had proved that her former attorney had stolen $300 of her retainer and intentionally misrepresented the status of her Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Note that the transgressing attorney was disbarred for mismanaging her Trust Account. Practice pointer for bankruptcy clients: If you receive a deficiency notice from the bankruptcy court concerning your bankruptcy petition, make sure that your bankruptcy attorney immediately corrects the deficiency. Otherwise, your bankruptcy petition will be dismissed.