Hagerstown, MD asked in Contracts for Maryland

Q: Can I get a payment refund if my lawyer was not able to file a lawsuit on my behalf, as noted in the retainer agreement?

I signed a retainer agreement for a law firm to file a lawsuit on my behalf by a certain date and to represent me if there is a settlement. But a month after the indicated date on the agreement, the firm was still not able to file the lawsuit. I asked them why and I was told they lacked the necessary expertise. They closed my account and sent me the leftover money. Since the contract was breached, can I get a refund of the amount that the firm charged me for about 3 months?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In your situation, if the law firm failed to fulfill the obligations outlined in the retainer agreement, such as not filing a lawsuit by the specified date and lacking the necessary expertise, you may have grounds to request a refund. The retainer agreement and the nature of the legal services rendered will be crucial in determining your entitlement to a refund.

You should review the terms of the retainer agreement carefully, as it may contain clauses regarding non-performance or inability to provide the promised services. If the firm acknowledged their inability to handle your case as agreed, this could strengthen your position in seeking a refund.

It’s advisable to communicate your concerns and request for a refund in writing to the firm. If the firm is unresponsive or refuses to issue a refund, you may consider pursuing a complaint with the state bar association or seeking legal advice regarding the breach of contract.

Remember, each case is unique, and the outcome will depend on the specific terms of your retainer agreement and the details of your interactions with the firm. A clear and documented communication trail will be helpful in resolving this matter.

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