Attorneys have a duty to advocate on behalf of their clients. Thus, if an attorney and their client disagree as to how to litigate a matter or an attorney does not feel it can adequately represent a client’s interests, it may withdraw from the case. In doing so, however, the attorney must comply with certain procedural rules; otherwise, it may adversely affect their client’s rights. In a ruling recently set forth in a medical malpractice case, a court explained a plaintiff’s recourse when an attorney withdraws from a case without following proper procedure. If you were harmed by medical negligence, it is smart to consult a skillful Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to assess your options for seeking compensation.
Procedural History of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff sought treatment with the defendant for anorectal health issues. The defendant ultimately performed surgery on the plaintiff to alleviate his symptoms. The plaintiff asserts the defendant did not perform the procedure properly, causing him to suffer permanent harm, physical and emotional suffering and pain, and other damages. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant but failed to comply with the scheduling order.
Allegedly, after numerous discovery delays, the defendant moved for sanctions. The plaintiff’s attorney took responsibility for the delays but shortly thereafter moved to withdraw from the case. The court granted the motion but refused the plaintiff’s subsequent motion to extend discovery deadlines. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss the case, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff appealed.
A Party’s Rights When an Attorney Withdraws from the Case
On appeal, the plaintiff argued, in part, that the trial court erred in allowing his prior counsel to withdraw because he failed to comply with the procedural rules regarding the notice required prior to withdrawing. The appellate court stated that while the plaintiff was correct that his prior counsel did not provide him with sufficient notice and the trial court prematurely signed the order allowing him to withdraw, he failed to show how such actions caused him any prejudice.
The appellate court went on to state that, as a general rule, the burden imposed on a party pursuing an appeal in a civil case is to show that the alleged error that triggered the appeal caused prejudice. In other words, errors are harmless unless the party complaining of the error demonstrates a likelihood of prejudice. As the plaintiff failed to demonstrate prejudice in the subject case, the error was harmless. Thus, the court denied his appeal.
Meet with an Experienced Maryland Attorney
People harmed by medical malpractice typically need the assistance of a competent attorney, and if their current attorneys wish to withdraw from the case, they must do so without harming their client’s rights. If you were injured by the medical negligence of your care providers, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The experienced Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group possess the skills and resources needed to help you pursue a favorable outcome, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.