Injured boy waits 16 years for his lawyer to file a compensation claim
An 11-year-old boy has had to wait till his 27th birthday for his lawyer to get around to lodging a compensation claim.
The boy was bitten by a dog in 1998 and only recently received $27,000 in compensation.
The Perth lawyer responsible for this staggering time-lag, Carmelo Grasso, has now been fined $5,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal.
Mr Grasso offered no excuse for the "unacceptable and serious" professional misconduct and took full responsibility for the delay.
He first offered his services to the boy’s parents in June 1998 and confirmed that he would apply for criminal injuries compensation in a letter to the boy’s mother.
Over the next few years, the case went forward painfully slowly.
But after 2001, the proceedings stalled completely, and for the next 13 years Mr Grasso did practically nothing to pursue the case, despite reassuring his clients that he was following up on the claim.
With his patience wearing thin, the client contacted the Legal Profession Complaints Committee to report Mr Grasso’s extreme tardiness.
Folklaw can’t imagine how a case could stay buried on a lawyer’s desk for well over a decade, but at least Mr Grasso was thoughtful enough to offer his client an extra $27,000 and did not charge any legal fees.