The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court’s decision, dismissing a legal malpractice action on summary judgment, because the statute of limitation had expired on the claim. In Graora v Fletcher Tilton and Whipple, an individual, who was injured in a motor vehicle accident, hired a law firm to represent him in a personal injury action against the other driver.
Articles Posted in Massachusetts Cases
In Re: Timothy M. Mauser, No. BD-2015-045: Massachusetts Attorney Received Three Months Stayed Suspension
The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently approved a three month suspension of a Massachusetts attorney for violating several Rules of Professional Conduct. In the Matter of Timothy M. Mauser, a husband and wife hired an attorney to review their bankruptcy proceedings, after they discovered certain tax liens had not been discharged.
Gary Wong v. George V.H. Luu, SJC-11789: Trial Court Judge Cannot Sanction Attorneys for Ethical Violations
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) has recently reversed a lower court’s decision to sanction a Massachusetts attorney. In Gary Wong v. George V.H. Luu, the parties were attempting a settle several consolidated cases regarding the sale of three supermarket stores in Boston. However, shortly before the parties were scheduled to finalize a settlement agreement, an attorney representing several creditors involved in the lawsuit sent solicitation letters to other unsecured creditors of the supermarket.
In Re: Orlando Dimambro, No. BD-2015-008: Massachusetts Attorney Suspended for Failure to Keep Client Informed
The Supreme Judicial Court recently suspended a Boston, Massachusetts attorney for violating legal ethics rules. In the matter of Orlando Dimambro, a brother and sister hired an attorney to represent them in a negligence claim against an electric company, after a manhole cover exploded underneath their car, injuring them.
In Re: Kirk Y. Griffin No. BD-2013-081: Massachusetts Court Disbars Attorney for Misuse of Client Funds
The Supreme Judicial Court has recently disbarred a Boston, Massachusetts. In the matter of Kirk Y. Griffin, an attorney admitted to using client funds for personal expenses over a period of eight years. After learning of the attorney’s conduct, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) initiated an investigation and then filed a petition for discipline against the attorney.
In re: Peter Larkowich, No. BD-2014-112: Massachusetts Attorney Suspended for Failing to Comply with Administrative Order
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) has suspended an attorney from practicing law for 6 months, following a determination that he had been practicing without a license, and falsely represented himself as a licensed attorney. In the matter of Peter Larkowich, a Massachusetts attorney was administratively suspended for failing to pay his dues to the Massachusetts bar. He did not apply to be reinstated, nor did he notify his clients of his suspension, or withdraw from his current cases. Continue reading
In re: Derek H. DePetrillo: Massachusetts Attorney Receives Public Reprimand for Violations of Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct
The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) has issued a public reprimand against an attorney for misrepresenting a settlement offer to his client. In the matter of Derek H. DePetrillo, a woman hired an attorney to represent her in a claim against a loan company, which was making harassing phone calls to the woman. The attorney and his client entered into a contingent fee contract, under which he would only be paid if the claim was successful. Continue reading
In re Dwyer-Jones, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Affords Deference to Maine Court’s Suspension of Attorney
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“Massachusetts SJC”) has affirmed an order transferring an attorney to inactive status for a period of one year, following a determination by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (“Maine SJC”) that the attorney was unfit to practice law. In the matter of Suzanne T. Dwyer-Jones, the Maine Board of Bar Overseers (“Maine BBO”) alleged that an attorney had substantial mental health and substance abuse problems. Continue reading
In re Lisa Beth Wilkins Baker, No. BD-2012-026: Massachusetts Lawyer Suspended for Violation of Attorney Ethics Rules
The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) in Boston has suspended an attorney from practicing law, following an investigation by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”). In the matter of Lisa Beth Wilkins Baker, an attorney neglected her duties as a guardian ad litem in two client matters, and failed to cooperate with counsel for the BBO during disciplinary proceedings. Continue reading
Cheney v. Flood, NO. 13-P-259: Massachusetts Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Action Against Administrator of Estate
The Massachusetts Appeals Court, which is located in Boston, has affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice action and summary judgment of a related quantum meruit claim. A woman provided care to her stepfather during the last years of his life. She had hoped that she and her children would be named sole or principal beneficiaries of her stepfather’s estate. However, when he died she was not compensated for her services.
The woman then sued the attorney who served as administrator of the estate for legal malpractice alleging that he negligently failed to name her as primary beneficiary. She also sought payment from her stepfather’s estate for the value of her services. The attorney moved to dismiss both counts on the basis that the woman failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court allowed the attorney’s motion, but permitted the woman to amend her complaint to re-plead her quantum meruit count. She amended her complaint and the attorney successfully moved for summary judgment. The woman appealed from the summary judgment ruling only.
The appeals court found that, although she had included arguments in her appellate brief with respect to the dismissal of her malpractice count, she had waived her appellate rights for failing to include these issues in her notice of appeal. Nevertheless, the court held that the dismissal was proper because she could not prove that an attorney-client relationship existed between her and the attorney.
The appeals court also affirmed the summary judgment for the attorney on the quantum meruit count. In order to recover under that theory, there must be an underlying agreement between the parties. The court held that woman’s hope and expectation that she would be compensated did not contractually obligate the stepfather to pay her. Therefore, summary judgment was appropriate.
Decision: Cheney v. Flood