Two Boston area attorneys were temporarily suspended when, according to the Lawrence, Massachusetts court, they “put their self interest ahead of that of the client.” Ferreira, Pedro (Lawyers Weekly No. 25-010-10) (April 8, 2010). This was a worker’s compensation case involving the Department of Industrial Accidents, and Boston legal malpractice attorney Neil Burns has represented hundreds of clients in cases where an attorney did not put the client’s best interest first.
In this case, Mr. Ferreira was injured at work. The worker’s compensation insurance company “accepted” the case as a back injury. Subsequently, the employee claimed a psychiatric component to the injury. At a hearing to determine the company’s acceptance of the psychiatric part of the case, and attorney fees associated with that, the lawyer failed to appear at the hearing.
The worker’s compensation judge dismissed the claim because the attorney failed to appear. The court, in reviewing the claim, determined that the attorney litigated the claim only to get fees. That is, the insurance company was willing to pay the claim but not the attorney fee. The court held that the attorney put his interest ahead of his client’s. As a result, the attorney was suspended from appearing before the Department of Industrial Accidents for 75 days.