My question involves malpractice by a lawyer in the state of: Arkansas
First of all, the defendant is not actually a lawyer, per se, but since she gave me bad advice about something related to government red tape, I feel this is the best place to put this thread, considering that there is no thread for general malpractice.
Second, let it be known that I am willing to accept contributory negligence on my part, so long as it does not amount to 50% or more (the point at which my state will bar all recover, altogether). This is because I am merely seeking equitable relief, which is pretty black-and-white regarding contributory negligence; either the court issues an injunction, or it doesn't.
My community college (government entity, but sovereign immunity does not apply to equitable relief; only monetary relief) has put me on financial suspension, even though any fault of my own can only be a portion of the entire fault.
I contacted my counselor regarding dropping my Spring 2010 semester classes (the teachers tended to harass and patronize me), asking her to confirm a rumor that I had heard, saying that, if I take just one class in the summer semester out of pocket, then I am instantly off financial suspension, no fuss no muss. When she confirmed that rumor with a simple, but emphatic "That's true," I was timely in my decision to drop the classes.
What she did not tell me, and that I only found out about yesterday, was that, if I am on financial suspension, I am not even allowed to enroll at all! This defeats the whole purpose of why I dropped in the first place!
She pointed to a paragraph in the student handbook that disclosed that to me. The handbook that had over a thousand pages of 8 point font; what reasonable person in my situation (that situation being, a regular student) would have been fully aware of that tiny little provision in a 1000+ page book? I could expect her, an adviser for the college, to be much more likely to be aware of this provision, considering that 1) She has worked at this college for many many years, and 2) Once she was prompted to think about this by a different adviser, she knew exactly where it was, and found it within minutes, proving that she did have this information in her own memory, and proving a likelihood that she even had a similar situation where she had to look it up, in the past. She claims that she had "no way of knowing," of this provision, when, in fact, she demonstrated that, not only did she have a way of knowing, but she did know.
Applying the reasonable fields doctrine, which would you more expect to be aware of such an obscure paragraph: A part-time student who already has his sights set on transferring to another college, or a full-time employee and adviser for the college who has gone to graduate school (I do not know if it is a Masters or Ph.D, but she did attend graduate school) who has been working for that college for many years?
As my adviser, she should have warned me about what I was getting myself into, and, therefore, she (and, by nature of respondiat superior, the college) has committed a tort of malpractice against me by giving me bad advice (that advice being that I would have nothing to worry about, and that my summer class should be smooth).
Again, I am willing to admit some contributory negligence (for all intents and purposes, the provision was there, even though it was buried under pages upon pages of boilerplate text and jibberish), so long as it does not overturn my entitlement to injunctive relief (specifically, I want off financial suspension so that I may pursue my further educational goals). I am also requesting no monetary relief other than my court costs (no attorney fees, as I will likely take the case pro se; if I can afford a lawyer, I can probably afford to pay off my financial suspension, don't you think?). I believe my court costs are a reasonable reimbursement (especially considering that I am likely to qualify to waive the filing fee due to being extremely low income).
What do you think?