Venue for Legal Malpractice In Michigan
The issue of proper venue in a legal malpractice case was addressed in Bass v. Combs, 238 Mich App 16; 604 NW2d 727 (1999), the plaintiff filed suit for wrongful discharge in Wayne County, but the case was removed to the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, where it was ultimately dismissed for multiple discovery violations. Id. at 18-19.
The plaintiff then filed a legal malpractice complaint against her attorneys in Wayne Circuit Court, however, on the motion of the defendants, the trial court transferred the case to Oakland Circuit Court. Id. at 19.
On appeal, this Court held that, for venue purposes in a legal malpractice case, the determinative issue is where the negligence occurred, not where the underlying lawsuit was filed. Bass, supra at 21, relying on Coleman v. Gurwin, 443 Mich 59, 66; 503 NW2d 435 (1993).
The Court found that the defendant's negligence occurred in Wayne County because the allegations for failure to comply with the U.S. District Court's discovery orders, failure to appear at a deposition, failure to object to a recommendation for dismissal, failure to properly serve the defendants, and failure to properly manage the case, all occurred in Wayne County. Id. at 21-22.
Because the plaintiff's original injury occurred in Wayne County, venue was proper in Wayne County. Id. at 21-22.