As busy lawyers, we deal daily with the dreaded statute of limitations. State of limitations is the legal term referring to the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed. Perhaps no area of law deals with the SOL more than Personal Injury lawyers. So, there is always some temptation to “fudge” the record if we outright miss an SOL. One Georgia lawyer, Jo Anne David-Vega gave in to temptation.

Ms. David-Vega had a large caseload which she accrued quickly in 2016. By 2019, she missed the SOL for an automobile collision. Her client called some 65 times asking for a status of his case. The client later filed a malpractice lawsuit and a grievance with the bar association. In her defense, Ms. David-Vega fabricated an email and text message supposedly showing that the client had fired her before the SOL had expired.

Different Font

The Georgia Supreme Court noted the email differed in format and font from other emails sent by the client. The email had perfect diction, capitalization and punctuation. Ms. David-Vega eventually admitted the email and text message were fake.

Ms. David-Vega expressed remorse for missing the SOL. She had accepted a new part-time job which suddenly added 150 cases to her caseload. Her parents were ill. And, she said, she had trouble saying no and had trouble asking for help. She had a good reputation with the judges before whom she appeared. A special master recommended a two year suspension of her license. See ABA Bar Journal report here for more information.