Minnesota Attorney Malpractice: How to Sue Your Lawyer

Has your attorney messed up your case? Are you paying the price for having a bad lawyer?

Many people who are frustrated with legal services provided by their former attorney consider filing a legal malpractice lawsuit. The following are some frequently asked questions about bringing a lawyer malpractice lawsuit in Minnesota along with simple answers.

Are there any special requirements to starting a lawyer malpractice lawsuit in Minnesota?

Yes. In order to start an attorney malpractice case in Minnesota, you must get an affidavit from a licensed attorney stating that there is sufficient basis for the case. The purpose behind this requirement is to prevent people from bringing frivolous malpractice cases against attorneys.

What do I have to establish to bring a malpractice lawsuit against an attorney in Minnesota?

To state a claim for legal malpractice upon which relief can be granted, a plaintiff must allege

  1. the existence of an attorney-client relationship;
  2. acts constituting negligence or breach of contract;
  3. that such acts were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages;
  4. that but for attorney-defendant’s conduct the plaintiff would have been successful in the prosecution or defense of the action.

See Antone v. Mirviss, 720 N.W.2d 331 (Minn. 2006).

What is the statute of limitations for attorney legal malpractice in Minnesota?

The statute of limitations for legal malpractice is six years. Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(5) (2004). See Antone v. Mirviss, 720 N.W.2d 331 (Minn. 2006).

When does the statute of limitations for attorney legal malpractice begin to run?

The Minnesota Supreme Court held that Minnesota’s statute of limitations on tort claims, such as attorney malpractice, starts when a mistake is made and the mistake produces at least some damage.

Minnesota Statutes do not specify when the six-year period begins to run. The Supreme Court of Minnesota has consistently held that the statute begins to run when the cause of action accrues, that is, when the plaintiff can allege sufficient facts to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Antone v. Mirviss, 720 N.W.2d 331 (Minn. 2006).

What is the first step to starting an attorney malpractice lawsuit?

In general, the first step to bringing a lawyer malpractice lawsuit is to find an attorney who will take your case. Since you generally need an attorney to sign an affidavit for your case, there is no way you can start a legal malpractice case in Minnesota by yourself, unless of course, a judge grants an exception (which requires a specific basis provided in the statute).

When searching for an attorney, find one experienced in malpractice claims because of the special challenges in this area of law.

Leave a Public Comment

  • Maurice Ploetz
    June 2, 2016, 9:38 am

    Attorney also said she could lose her bar for what she had done filed a bad creditors claim and petitions to remove trusted can you help all want is her fees reduced she is trying to quit when we have an offer on the tasble

  • Maurice Ploetz
    June 1, 2016, 3:09 pm

    Estate case gone bad attorney miss filed claim. Petition that should have been filed

  • Melissa zapilski
    April 28, 2016, 3:33 pm

    My attorney did not handle my case correctly at all. It was agreed upon by the judge to settle for a lump sum payment which I made only to find out after I made payment they still want the rest and are taking my state refund now!! The paperwork is even falsified by the county my attorney could give a shit less about me. Now I paid him even more money to try to get this taken care of after getting a letter from the county stating that they should not have received the refunds from my taxes and he still messed it up!! I am at my wits end and he is no help.

  • brad
    October 18, 2015, 12:45 am

    My attorney did not file the proper forms and information that was in his possession that ultimately cost me 60,000 dollars. When confronting him on this he told me he was sorry and that nothing like this has ever happed to him and that I should sue him for malpractice and he would not protest my filing and would testify he did messed up and never gave the court the information that the court asked for and that I gave to my attorney several times.

  • michael
    November 15, 2014, 1:21 am

    I was misrepresented in a family law case. My lawyer said during the case the stress was making the lawyer consider suicide. During the trial thos same lawyer did not provide even half the testimonies of witnesses or even half of the documentation needed in the case. Subsequently I lost custody of a minor child whom had always been under my primary care. The judge in this case waa not nice to the lawyer and the judge with out review of testimonies says I was dishonest during the case. If review of testimony would have happened I believe the judge would have changed his tone.
    Now my child will see me and his two only siblings less than he has in five years. Also the I am a male in minnesota came up. Help please !!

  • Debera
    October 23, 2013, 8:26 pm

    I was denied social for it.disabilty and the attorney failed to explain to me the importance of appealing so now I dont quilify

  • Tracey
    October 10, 2013, 4:33 pm

    I hired an Attorney soon after getting into my new home being I had things on my credit report that weren’t mine I needed to clear these things up in order to finance a home. I purchased the home on a Contract for Deed in my mothers name which was a 3 year deal. I was told by the banker if I could get the items cleared and stayed clear for 1 year they would be more than happy to refinance the home for me. I hired an attorney to deal with this and its been 2 years plus he has done nothing but make promises and never following through. I’m now at risk of losing my home of which I have paid over $90,000 toward in the past 2 years. I have gone everyplace to try and get help and nothing is working out due to this guys bull crap. I have since hired a different firm which has been more help in 3 weeks time than he has been in 2+ years time. I have requested many times that he refund my $3000 paid to him and have gotten no place he don’t return calls and he wont reply to emails as well. I’m very close to losing my home if I cant come up with the remaining balance soon and I mean very soon. Can he be sued for not doing his job and not returning my $3000 payment ? Also if I lose this place can he be sued for damages for me losing my home. He was made well aware of the things that needed to be done and like I said has done nothing he agreed he could handle and fix. Please I really need some advice and as soon as possible… Thanks in advance… Tracey

  • Kelly Smith
    March 2, 2013, 4:41 pm

    How do I collect a personal debt (approx.2k) from an attorney, who befriended me 20 yrs ago, borrowed money, then would not pay back, won’t respond to letters, phone calls etc. Please advise thank you.

  • Lisa O'Hanlon
    November 2, 2012, 2:19 am

    Thanks Aaron. I’m just a bitter victim of lawyers….

  • Aaron D. Hall
    October 25, 2012, 5:12 pm


    You are correct that the statute provides an exception to the requirement of an expert affidavit if certain conditions are met and a judge grants the motion. I have modified the language of this article to clarify that.

    As you might have guessed, I disagree with your suggestion that we are trying to protect attorneys from malpractice. In fact, we currently represent individuals in attorney malpractice claims against their former lawyers.

    Aaron Hall

  • Lisa O'Hanlon
    October 25, 2012, 3:41 pm

    ” Since you need an attorney to sign an affidavit for your case, there is no way you can start a legal malpractice case in Minnesota by yourself.”


    Aaron your statements are misleading and they cost me three months. You need to double check your work, you are liable for these false public statements. Further, these false statements seek and stand to protect dishonest acts against vulnerable consumer victims and they are indicative of closed shop operations.

    Telling victims of your notorious and disreputable profession that they will only be able to seek remedy if they can find another one of you to certify the claim is a malicious lie, and it is a common fact that victims will be more likely than not to have wasted their entire statute of limitations time attempting to find another liar to address the issues that the first liar caused.

    This general statement to the world regarding Minnesota lawyers and their secretive and cultish practices of protecting each other from thier victims is misleading, untrue, unfair, and a predicate act for a RICO claims against the Minnesota Bar.


    (b) If an affidavit is executed under paragraph (a), clause (2), the affidavit in paragraph
    (a), clause (1), must be served on the defendant or the defendant’s counsel within 90 days after service of the summons and complaint.
    (c) The certification of expert review required under this section may be waived or modified if the court where the matter will be venued determines, upon an application served with commencement of the action, that good cause exists for not requiring the certification. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, a showing that the action requires discovery to provide a reasonable basis for the expert’s opinion or the unavailability, after a good faith effort, of a qualified expert at reasonable cost. If the court waives or modifies the expert review requirements, the court shall establish a scheduling order for compliance or discovery. If the court denies a request for a waiver under this subdivision, the plaintiff must serve on the defendant the affidavit required under subdivision 2, clause (1), within 60 days, and the affidavit required under subdivision 2, clause (2), within 180 days.

  • Valeria Sanchez
    May 26, 2012, 6:02 pm

    I valeria Sanchez
    Have a case with attorney and a judge that I was abbused by the
    legal system. 1.no knowing the human rignt s
    2.was told be quiet when asked.question
    3.was thrown out of court for trying to file appeal
    4. Was never given of what action of information of explaining to
    5 .the other side never follow orders