93A Double Damages
Double Damages Awarded Under 93A in Massachusetts Legal Malpractice Case
A Massachusetts judge awarded double damages under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A, against Attorney David Driscoll of Salem, Massachusetts. In a case we filed on behalf of our client, “Victor,” we were successful in obtaining an award of damages against Attorney Driscoll who was negligent in his representation of Victor in a 2004 automobile accident case. The award was doubled under 93A and Victor was awarded his medical bills, attorney fees and court costs.
In this case, Victor was stopped at a traffic light in his vehicle in Salem, Massachusetts when, suddenly and without warning, he was rear ended by a vehicle driving at a high rate of speed. Victor suffered head, neck and back injuries, including bulging discs in his neck. He underwent two courses of epidural steroid injections, various modalities in physical therapy, and continues to suffer left arm pain and discomfort as a result of the injuries he sustained in the collision. His medical bills exceeded $15,000.
Unfortunately, the attorney Victor retained, David Driscoll, was negligent in handling Victor’s claim. He failed to pursue any settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. When Attorney Driscoll filed suit, he failed to follow the rules of civil procedure: first, he failed to “serve” the Complaint on the defendant driver; this happened numerous times, each time resulting in Driscoll filing a motion to extend the time; next, he failed to complete discovery requested by the defendant attorney; finally, after two court conferences with no responses by Driscoll to complete discovery, the case was dismissed when the Court found that Driscoll failed “to produce any admissible evidence…”
Following the dismissal of Victor’s case by the Court, Attorney Driscoll failed to inform Victor that he had lost his legal rights. Attorney Driscoll lied on the telephone about the status of the case, saying that it was “pending.” At some point, Victor drove to the Salem District Court, pulled his file, and was informed by the Salem Court Clerk of what happened.
Victor retained our office. We sought to get a copy of the file, however, David Driscoll refused to provide it. We immediately filed a 93A Demand to Attorney David Driscoll. He refused to acknowledge that as well, so under our policy of aggressively representing Massachusetts clients, we filed suit in Essex Superior Court. Attorney Driscoll failed to defend in that case resulting in a default against him and an Assessment of Damages Hearing, in February 2011. The award was for Victor’s pain and suffering, his medical bills, his attorney fees, and his court costs. Significantly, the award was doubled by the Court, because there was a finding that David Driscoll violated Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A, the Consumer Protection Statute, which applies to clients as “consumers” of legal services.