Queens, NY asked in Personal Injury for New York

Q: NYC As the plaintiff, am I allowed to request for a "meritorious" case to be dismissed or do I have to settle

I am the guardian of an incapacitated person (my father). The lawyer assigned to this case chose to not communicate at all. The incapacitated person will no longer benefit from this lawsuit as his present physical and mental condition have worsened and will only get worse as time goes on until he passes away. He will gain nothing from the lawsuit settling.

The lawyers weren't happy with my request to dismiss this case despite it being for legitimate reasons and stated that they cannot dismiss the case because it's meritorious and if I don't choose to settle, their only option is to remove themselves as counsel from the case. Is this actually true? I have never heard that any plaintiff has to see a lawsuit to the end. As the plaintiff with no countersuit against them in this matter, why can't I choose to get rid of this lawsuit if it's no longer in the best interest of the plaintiff (my incapacitated father who I am now the legal guardian of)?

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

A: As the guardian of the incapacitated person / plaintiff, you certainly have the right to discontinue the case, regardless of whether it's meritorious. Of course, this will mean that your father's attorneys will not get compensated for any of the work they put into the case (and will likely lose $ they invested in prosecuting the case so far). Keep in mind that even though your father is incapacitated, any recovery from the lawsuit would go to his estate. Which means that although the settlement proceeds (if any) might not benefit your father, there might be family members (such as yourself) who stand to benefit. Might be best to have an actual conversation with the lawyer to see if you can reach some sort of resolution short of a discontinuance.

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