Philadelphia, PA asked in Personal Injury and Legal Malpractice for New York

Q: My attorney stated he could not mail me my case file from NY to PA because it's a HIPAA violation. Is that true.?

I have a case that's been going on since 1991 against the city of NY. I don't believe my attorney is handling it accordingly. He refuses to send me

my case file. There hasn't been any progress on my case and keeps trying to assure me everything's OK. He's sent me money on a few occasions in a time of need. He keeps telling me to call him and I do but to no avail. I can see my name on the Supreme Court records online library however there's no documents scanned in. I have an index # of 026775-1991 (row 1). He has told me he's gonna retire soon and that hes gonna give my case to a friend of his of 40 years. I would like to know what options I have in trying to get my case settled. I personally feel like this can be a malpractice suite against said attorney because he hasn't provided proper legal care.

I'd appreciate any help you offer

1 Lawyer Answer
Jonathan R. Ratchik
Jonathan R. Ratchik
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Sorry to hear your attorney is refusing to turn over your file. You have an absolute right to get a copy of it.

HIPAA does NOT prevent your attorney from mailing you a copy of your own file; HIPAA governs the disclosure of protected / confidential medical information to unauthorized third parties. Refusal to turn over your file is a big red flag.

That your case is now >30 years old does not bode well. Whether you have a viable legal malpractice lawsuit will depend on whether your lawyer's conduct fell below the accepted standard of care and whether any such malpractice caused you economic loss. Although you generally must first prove that you could prevail in the underlying lawsuit (which may be difficult to prove given the age of your case), if your lawyer's malpractice prevented you from obtaining a recovery in the first place, you might have a viable case.

You can find many excellent legal malpractice lawyers using the Find a Lawyer tab on the JUSTIA homepage.

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