A District of Columbia Superior Court judge has dismissed a malpractice lawsuit filed against Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, finding that the plaintiff, a Maryland woman, failed to prosecute her case.
Michelle Etlin, who was representing herself, sued Fried Frank in October 2011, accusing firm attorneys of failing to adequately represent her in defending against a child support action – allegations the firm denied. Judge John Mott, in an order (PDF) yesterday, found that Etlin had not filed any documents, met deadlines, or appeared for a hearing over the past six months.
Etlin had asked for an indefinite stay of the case, citing health reasons, but Mott said that such an order would be too prejudicial to the firm. "[T]he defendants also have an interest in having a case they believe is tarnishing their reputation litigated and resolved," he wrote in the dismissal order.
Firm attorneys provided pro bono representation to Etlin in 2008. She sued the firm as well as several individual attorneys, including firm partner Douglas Baruch and former associate Amy Day. The firm denied any wrongdoing, saying in filings that the attorneys involved "zealously represented" Etlin and that her allegations were baseless.
Mott denied the firm's motion to dismiss in February 2012, finding that although Etlin's complaint was confusingly written at times, she had made sufficient pleadings. However, he warned that he was doubtful her complaint could survive a motion for summary judgment.
Lead counsel for Fried Frank, Thomas Murphy of Murphy & Mood in Rockville, Md., declined to comment. A firm spokesperson could not immediately be reached. Day declined to comment.
Etlin, in an e-mail message, said she stood by her claims but didn't feel emotionally or physically able to continue with the case. "Once we went to court, I started off able to litigate and then found that my energy and emotional resistance were not 'renewable resources,'" she said.