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.