This Div is a JS Trigger
Issue 41 | September 2016

LIANSWERS

This newsletter includes information to help lawyers reduce the likelihood of being sued for malpractice. The material presented is not intended to establish, report, or create the standard of care for lawyers. The articles do not represent a complete analysis of the topics presented, and readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.
Avoiding rule 8 (Default judgment) claims

Claims related to Rule 8 of the Nova Scotia Annotated Civil Procedure Rules arise when it is alleged that an action was dismissed by default judgment due to a lawyer’s negligence. A motion is required to set aside a default judgment and reinstate the client’s action. These matters can sometimes be resolved with the consent of opposing counsel. However, in some instances, the motion is contested.

Dismissal claims due to administrative errors are often preventable, and can become less likely if the following measures are taken:

  1. Proper overall use and accurate data entry in your tickler system.
  2. Have your tickler system produce inactivity to identify files that have become dormant. The court will continue to monitor the case, regardless of your clients’ wishes to ignore the matter for the time being. An administrative-related dismissal may cause the client pursue an action against you.
  3. Do not wait to take steps in an action while awaiting completion of medical reports, discoveries, or settlement negotiations, while relying on an opponent’s waiver. Either meet litigation deadlines or obtain a signed agreement confirming the parties’ decision to extend the deadline.
  4. Ensure that staff and junior lawyers are able to recognize, prioritize and immediately deliver status notices to the counsel.
  5. Learn to recognize signs of stress or being overworked in your staff, as they may be at risk of missing deadlines.
  6. Develop a contingency plan in the event of an illness, injury or other emergency that could interrupt your practice.

Contact LIANS for more information on avoiding a default judgment claim.