Shuford Law Firm
Legal Malpractice Attorney
Dallas Texas Lawyer
4054 McKinney Avenue, Suite 310
Dallas, Texas 75204
Tel. 214-742-1701
Fax. 214-745-8935


Legal Malpractice

[03/27] Tanedo v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board
The denial of a motion for immunity from liability under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, ("those who petition any department of the government for redress are generally immune from statutory liability for their petitioning conduct"), is not immediately appealable, nor does the court have pendent appellate jurisdiction over the Noerr-Pennington issue, so the appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

[02/28] Mitchell v. Lyons Professional Services, Inc.
Judgment denying plaintiff's motion to execute a monetary judgment entered, as a sanction for plaintiff's attorney misconduct, is vacated and remanded, where although the district court had more than an adequate basis to sanction plaintiff's counsel and accorded the required procedural safeguards, further findings are needed to support a sanction that falls entirely on the clients rather than principally on the lawyer.

[02/20] Gunn v. Minton
28 U.S.C. section 1338(a), which provides federal district courts with exclusive jurisdiction over patent cases, does not deprive the state courts of subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claim alleging legal malpractice in the handling of his patent case because the legal malpractice claim does not arise under federal patent law, where: 1) resolution of a federal patent question is "necessary" to plaintiff's case; 2) the federal issue of the experimental-use exception is also "actually disputed" here; but 3) the federal issue in this case is not substantial in the relevant sense; and 4) there is no serious federal interest in claiming the advantages thought to be inherent in a federal forum.

[01/28] Silas v. Arden
Jury verdict for plaintiff on her malicious prosecution claim against defendant-attorney who sued her for legal malpractice is affirmed, where: 1) case holding that the one-year statute of limitations period of Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6(a) applied to malicious prosecution actions against an attorney does not apply retroactively, where plaintiff's reliance on a two-year statute was manifestly reasonable; and 2) the verdict was supported by substantial evidence.

[01/25] In re Payne
In appeal by attorney of Committee on Admissions and Grievances findings of misconduct and recommendation for public reprimand, recommendation is adopted, where: 1) the Court does not find error in the majority of the Committee's findings of misconduct and defers to its assessment of credibility although the record does not contain clear and convincing evidence that Payne had intentionally prejudiced or damaged his clients but instead neglected legal matters entrusted to him; 2) arguments not raised to the Committee are barred; and 3) Payne's misconduct was sufficiently egregious to warrant a public reprimand.

[01/16] Carolina Casualty v. L.M. Ross Law Group
In coverage action for declaratory relief and reimbursement arising out of payment by plaintiff-insurer to settle a legal malpractice claim against defendant, trial court's grant of motion to amend judgment to include defendant Ross as an individual debtor, along with defendant Ross Law Group, is affirmed, where: 1) the trial court's finding that Ross Law Group dissolved and ceased to operate as a limited liability partnership in September 2006 is supported by substantial evidence; 2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in amending the judgment to add defendant Ross as a debtor because substantial evidence supports the finding that Ross as an individual, actively participated in and controlled the litigation on behalf of Ross Law Group; and 3) the order does not interfere with statutory protections for partners in limited liability partnerships.

[01/03] People v. Stender
In appeal challenging preliminary injunction requiring defendants lawyer and law firm to provide notice to certain clients that another lawyer who had been employed by the firm had resigned from the bar with disciplinary charges pending and was not authorized to practice law, judgment is affirmed, where: 1) rules governing attorneys' obligations upon resignation from the Bar apply to law corporations; 2) the resigned attorney expressly agreed to send notices, return property and refund unearned fees; 3) the trial court's finding that defendants aided and abetted the resigned attorney's unauthorized practice of law was amply supported; 4) the City is not trying to regulate the practice of law, but to prevent unlawful business practices; 5) declarations by clients amply support the court's determination that there was a probability the People would succeed on the merits of their claims; and 6) it is not apparent how clients' confidential information would be necessary to defend against the People's claims.

[11/20] Filbin v. Fitzgerald
In plaintiffs' legal malpractice suit against their former attorney, arising from an underlying eminent domain proceeding, trial court's award of more than half a million dollars in favor of the plaintiffs for the malpractice committed by their attorney prior to the eventual settlement, and an award of over $240,000 in favor of the attorney for the quantum meruit value of his services is: 1) reversed as to the judgment against the attorney as there is no causal nexus between the attorney's representation and the plaintiffs' subsequent decision to settle; and 2) affirmed as to quantum meruit award.

[10/25] Chodos v. Cole
In an action for indemnification of malpractice award between attorneys, arising from a marital dissolution and related proceedings, trial court's grant of defendant's motion to strike pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute is reversed and remanded where: 1) the claim does not involve activity protected by the anti-SLAPP statute; and 2) plaintiff did not have to supply a reporter's transcript of the argument before the trial court because the trial court stated that it relied only on the papers submitted and none of the parties relies on anything that occurred during that argument.

[10/23] In the Matter of Peter J. Galasso
In disciplinary proceeding against an attorney for various misconduct, including allegations that he failed to properly supervise the firm's bookkeeper resulting in misappropriation of client funds and that he breached his fiduciary duty by failing to safeguard those funds, the order of the Appellate Division is modified to dismiss the charge for failing to timely comply with the Grievance Committee's lawful demands for information where the imposition of this separate charge is unsupported by the record.

[10/10] Wyly v. Weiss
Following the approval of a federal class action settlement, the District Court's judgment enjoining a state court action for legal malpractice directed at counsel for the plaintiff class is affirmed where: 1) the "in aid of jurisdiction" exception to the Anti-Injunction Act cannot form the basis for the injunction of the state court action, because the limited circumstances in which the injunction of an in personam action may be appropriate "in aid of" the court’s jurisdiction are not present in this case; but 2) the injunction of the state court action was proper under the "relitigation" exception to the Anti-Injunction Act, since the award of attorneys' fees in the class action precludes a subsequent malpractice action where, as here, the parties had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the reasonableness of counsel's representation.

[07/31] Post v. St. Paul Travelers Ins. Co.
In an attorney's suit against his legal malpractice insurer claiming, inter alia, insurance bad faith and breach of contract, the district court's grant of summary judgment in defendant's favor on the bad faith claim is affirmed, as because the defendant performed what appears to be an adequate investigation, and because the sanctions exclusion in the policy provided it a reasonable basis for denying coverage, defendant did not engage in insurance bad faith. However, district court's damage award for breach of contract is vacated and remanded for a recalculation of the amount of fees and expenses incurred by plaintiff that are to be reimbursed by defendant.

[07/18] Croucier v. Chavos
In a legal malpractice suit arising from an underlying business lawsuit, trial court's decision sustaining defendant's demurrer to the first amended complaint and dismissal of the action is affirmed, as the one-year statute of limitations period precludes plaintiffs' suit.

[06/26] In the Matter of the Honorable Lafayette D. Young, Jr.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct's decision sustaining six charges of misconduct against a judge and determination that he should be removed from office, is affirmed as petitioner engaged in serious misconduct when he presided over matters involving persons with whom he and his paramour had close relationships, and in all cases but one, he neither disqualified himself nor disclosed relationship to the defendant or complaining witness.

[05/31] Dombrowski v. Bulson
In a legal malpractice action filed by a plaintiff who had been wrongfully convicted as a result of attorney malpractice in a criminal matter, it is held that the plaintiff did not have a viable claim for damages and the complaint should be dismissed in its entirety, since nonpecuniary damages are not available in an action for attorney malpractice.

[05/24] Shifren v. Spiro
In a legal malpractice action against brought after a court determined in the plaintiff's marriage dissolution action that trust documents prepared by his attorneys failed to ensure that his mother's gift of real property would be characterized as his separate property, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants on statute of limitations grounds is reversed, where the plaintiff did not suffer actual injury, and thus his cause of action did not accrue, until the court in the dissolution proceeding determined that the trust did not terminate a transmutation agreement.

[05/04] Minkin v. Gibbons, P.C.
In a suit alleging that a law firm committed legal malpractice in prosecuting a patent application, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the law firm is affirmed, where the plaintiff did not carry its burden on causation, since: 1) the plaintiff failed to raise any material fact in dispute as to the nonobviousness of the proposed alternate claims, and failed to provide evidence demonstrating that its alternate claims were nonobvious; and 2) no inference could be drawn that an examiner would have allowed alternate claims of greater scope just because a more narrow patent was issued after an in-person interview.

[04/23] Landmark Screens, LLC v. Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, LLP
In a state-law fraud suit stemming from alleged acts of malpractice committed by a lawyer and his firm in connection with a patent application: 1) the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants is reversed, where a) patent jurisdiction under 28 USC section 1338 was proper because the underlying question was whether the plaintiff would have been able to achieve patent protection for its invention absent the alleged malpractice, and b) the district court erred in not tolling California's three-year statute of limitations for fraud claims during the time the case was pending in the state courts; and 2) the district court's damages order is vacated, where the record did not support the district court's manner of summarily limiting damages.

[04/17] USPPS, Ltd. v. Avery Dennison Corp.
In a suit for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud arising out of a licensee's and law firm's alleged failure to secure a patent on the licensed product, the district court's order dismissing the complaint is affirmed, where it was not brought within the four-year limitations period, and neither the discovery rule nor the fraudulent concealment doctrine served to toll the limitations period.

[02/28] In re Coudert Bros. LLP
In a law firm's bankruptcy proceedings in federal district court in New York, in which a corporation filed a claim based on a pending legal malpractice action against the firm in Connecticut: 1) the portion of the district court's order affirming the bankruptcy court's order disallowing the claim for failure to comply with a statute of limitations under New York choice-of-law rules is vacated; and 2) the portion of the district court’s order affirming the bankruptcy court’s denial of the corporation’s motion for reconsideration is reversed and the case is remanded to the district court with instructions to remand in part to the bankruptcy court with instructions to apply Connecticut’s choice-of-law rules in deciding the corporation's motion to reconsider.

[05/05] In Re: Teligent, Incorporated
In a dispute arising from an action for legal malpractice, judgment of the district court denying motion to lift bankruptcy protective orders and cross-motion for injunctive relief barring defendant from attacking the validity of a settlement agreement on the grounds of waiver is affirmed where: 1) defendant-law firm failed to make the requisite showing to lift orders; and 2) it was not a party in interest with standing such that its failure to contest the validity of settlement agreement constituted waiver.

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