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Paralegal Publicly Blamed for Inaccurate Affidavit

A Miami paralegal has been publicly blamed by Major Ed Hudak of the Coral Gables Police Department for an inaccurate affidavit he signed. He is the former chief of the internal affairs division. An attorney for two subordinates who were the subject of the affidavit called it “false and misleading.” Major Hudak received an administrative written reprimand earlier this month for not following department regulations.

Hudak said Friday there were several revisions to the affidavit, which was prepared by a paralegal, and that he was working on several cases at the same time.

”There were a lot of corrections made,” Hudak said, adding that he had instructed the paralegal to write ”on or about May 17” because he was not sure of the date.

‘She just put `on.’ She did not put ‘or about,’ ” Hudak said. “I did not catch it. It was not an accurate reflection of what I told her.”

“Did I sign an improper document? Yes, absolutely. And it will never happen again. I learned from it. I’m probably one of the bigger proofreaders in the department and I’m in the largest division.”

”I learned if you are doing those affidavits you should do them yourself,” he added. “What I got at minimum was what I deserved. When you are looking at documents like that, you can’t leave any stone unturned.”

See The Miami Herald.

While it is crucial that any paralegal assigned to draft an affidavit follow instructions and carefully proofread the document for factual errors, it is even more important to actually read what you sign, especially under oath.

Do you think Major Hudak should have publicly blamed the paralegal for the erroneous affidavit? Please feel free to comment and answer the “yes” or “no” survey question regarding this issue.

3 Responses to Paralegal Publicly Blamed for Inaccurate Affidavit

  1. No. Reading what you sign and making sure that the changes you requested are part of that document is the signator’s responsibility. I also wonder, did he verbally give the paralegal his changes, or did he write them down on the draft affidavit? That makes a difference.

  2. Like Christine, I’d like to know whether there’s a written record of those instructions. Regardless, though, the attitude of “I’m too busy and important to do my job properly” is not one with which I’ve ever been impressed.

    Wendy Kimbel, ACP, NCCP

  3. First off, I think it is never good practice to publicly point a finger at someone else. Second, paralegals do their work under the supervision of an attorney. That attorney ultimately is responsible for the work that the paralegal does. Thirdly, we are all human and not perfect, hence the practice of having another set of eyes look things over. If he didn’t read it over, that is his fault.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

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Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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