Hon. David R. Chaffee (Ret.) Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee
Certified bankruptcy specialist was alleged to have acted below the standard of care when he advised corporate contracting company to file, and then did file for bankruptcy on behalf of the contractor. The primary source of business for the plaintiff contractor was from governmental entities. All contracts in existence were automatically terminated under the terms of the contracts, and all prospective contracts were lost. Moreover, all of the contractor’s insurance policies were similarly cancelled. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant attorney failed to anticipate the ramifications of the bankruptcy filing, failed to properly advise as to potential issues, and should have advised to find other solutions to cash flow problems.
Orange County law firm was sued for failure to file product liability action for defective seat belt that led to plaintiff’s injuries.
Plaintiffs alleged they hired defendants after a prior attorney failed to adequately handle a case involving the land upon which plaintiffs operated their business. The underlying action involved three deceased, intestate co-owners of approximately 10% of the property. The prior attorney pursued an adverse possession claim which, according to plaintiffs, was baseless because tenants in common cannot generally obtain title against each other by adverse possession. Plaintiffs alleged they then sought defendants’ legal advice. They alleged that competent counsel would have (1) dismissed the adverse possession suit; (2) open probate for the intestate owners and purchase the property from their heirs; (3) sue the first attorney for a refund of all legal fees paid; and (4) sue a third party for converting events and oil revenue. Instead, plaintiffs alleged defendants continued to litigate the adverse possession claim and another third party claim resulting in over $150k of legal fees.
Plaintiff sought damages for legal malpractice and negligent misrepresentation in her dissolution action. Defendants alleged that even had they obtained a better judgment, it still would have been uncollectible and plaintiff would have been in no better position.
Plaintiff was severely injured in an automobile accident and was hospitalized at UCI Medical Center for almost a month. Through a “capper”, defendant lawyers became aware of plaintiff’s injuries and, representing that why worked for UCI and collected money on UCI’s behalf, they solicited plaintiff’s relatives for the purpose of obtaining consent to represent plaintiff. Five months later, plaintiff and defendants signed a legal services agreement. Subsequently, defendant settled plaintiff’s claim against the responsible party in the automobile accident. Plaintiff’s first cause of action alleged that defendant breached the agreement by failing to competently perform services by failing to attempt to negotiate a reduction on plaintiff’s medical expenses, failing to set up a special need trust, failing to file a claim against UCI, and compromising plaintiff’s eligibility for government assistance. In the fraud case of action, plaintiff claimed that defendants induced her to enter into the agreement by knowingly making false representations that they worked for UCI and would act in her best interests, and intentionally concealed the employment of a capper. Plaintiff also alleged causes of action for professional negligence, rescission of the agreement, and unfair business practices based on the use of a capper.