An attorney from Leesburg, VA was awarded $5.75 million in a legal malpractice lawsuit against a Fairfax law firm after spending four years behind bars, reports Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
Bruce McLaughlin, 61, was handed the award last month by a Fairfax County jury after a three-week trial. He wept as the jury announced its decision on Oct. 30 after a day and a half of deliberations.
McLaughlin’s ordeal began during a divorce in which he was accused of molesting three of his children. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 1998, but with the help of attorney Alexander N. Levay, he was able to overturn the verdict, win a new trial, and was eventually acquitted of all charges. He spent four years in prison during the legal battle, during which he was assaulted by another prisoner and at one point attempted to escape.
McLaughlin turned to the Shevlin Smith firm to sue his original lawyers for criminal malpractice, arguing that they ignored evidence that would have undermined the testimony against him. However, that lawsuit went astray when a settlement with one of the lawyers accidentally resulted in the other lawyer getting off without charges against him.
McLaughlin then filed a lawsuit against Shevlin Smith for legal malpractice, which was the case that delivered a $5.75 million victory for him last month. He was able to prove to the jury that he was innocent of the sexual abuse charges, that his first criminal lawyers were negligent and were the cause of his conviction, and that his third attorney, Shevlin Smith, was negligent and was the cause of his losing any chance of recovery from his first set of lawyers.
A long, trying road has finally come to an end for McLaughlin, who had this to say of his victory: “After a tragedy of errors, finally in the great system of justice we are blessed to be living in, justice was served.”
The Parrish Law Firm’s legal malpractice attorney works with Virginia residents who have been victims of another lawyer’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.
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