Iowa SC on Immigration Attorney Malpractice, Damages, Emotional Distress: Miranda v. Said

"This is not a case that requires us to reconsider the rule we have developed over the years to determine if damages for emotional harm are recoverable in an action for negligence. The exception to the rule, applied to the facts presented to the jury in this case, support emotional distress damages. The relationship involved a transaction charged with emotions in which negligent conduct by the attorney was very likely to cause severe emotional distress. Of course, it is not necessary to go further to decide just where the line between duty and no duty may be drawn. Here, we can draw the line at the nature of this attorney–client relationship and the likelihood that serious emotional harm would result from negligently undertaking the illegitimate course of action. While the relationship was formed for the purpose of establishing a path to citizenship and a means to keeping the family united, Said only pursued an illegitimate course of conduct that had no chance of success if the independent decision-maker followed the law. The negligent conduct was doomed to directly result in a separation of the family for a decade. In this light, it was the type of relationship in which negligent conduct was especially likely to cause severe emotional distress, supporting a duty of care to protect against such harm." - Miranda v. Said, July 19, 2013.