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Tag Archives: Legal Malpractice

Corporate – Merger – Civil Practice – Pleadings Amendment – Relation Back – Real Party in Interest – Intellectual Property – Patent Application – Tort/Negligence – Attorneys – Legal Malpractice (access required)

Revolutionary Concepts, Inc. v. Clements Walker PLLC Although an inventor had assigned his patent rights to a Nevada corporation, a North Carolina corporation hired the defendant-law firm to apply for the patents. The Nevada corporation filed this action to assert its rights as assignee. Subsequently, the two corporations merged, with the Nevada corporation being the surviving entity. The Nevada corporation did not file a professional negligence action within the statute of limitations, and an amendment to its pleadings now would not relate back to the filing of this action.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Collateral Estoppel – Statute of Limitations (access required)

Royster v. McNamara In a prior fraud case against the current plaintiff — Kevin Royster — and other employees in a family business, the family’s motion for a new trial was denied, and this court affirmed the denial. However, in the fraud case, both the jury instructions and the new trial motion applied to the family as a group and not to Mr. Royster individually. There was evidence that Mr. Royster had no dealings with the fraud plaintiff. Mr. Royster’s legal malpractice claim against the family’s attorney in the fraud case is not barred by collateral estoppel.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Election of Remedies – Settled Claims (access required)

Danius v. Rodgers Even though the plaintiff-clients allege that the defendant-attorney’s negligence caused them to settle their claims against third parties for less than those claims would have otherwise been worth, the clients’ settlement of those claims constitutes an election of remedies and bars their claims against the attorney. We affirm summary judgment for defendants.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Landlord/Tenant – Commercial Leases – S.C. Tax Law (access required)

Marion Partners, LLC v. Weatherspoon & Voltz, LLP Hiring a lawyer did not relieve the plaintiff-landlords of the duty to read their lease, especially when the lawyer asked them to read the lease and told them changes had been made. We affirm summary judgment for defendant.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Real Property (access required)

Bodie Island Beach Club Association, Inc. v. Dixon Even though, within the three-year statute of limitations, the defendant-attorney allegedly failed to correct previous misrepresentations, a claim for legal malpractice accrues at the time of the attorney’s last affirmative act, not when the attorney fails to act or when the client suffers damages.

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Civil Practice – Appeals – Interlocutory – Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Intellectual Property – Foreign Patents – Subject Matter Jurisdiction (access required)

Revolutionary Concepts, Inc. v. Clements Walker, PLLC Plaintiffs; legal malpractice claim against defendants alleges that defendants’ actions prevented plaintiffs from obtaining foreign patents, not a U.S. patent; therefore, this case does not fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. Even if an unsuccessful challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a) were entitled to immediate appellate review, this case does not fall under § 1338(a). We dismiss as interlocutory defendants’ appeal of the trial court’s denial of their motion to dismiss.

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SC Firm: State lags in insurance for legal malpractice (access required)

The scenario sounds improbably bleak, but legal malpractice lawyers Ronnie Richter and Eric Bland swear it can happen to anyone whose attorney practices without the protection of malpractice insurance. They say it has happened in South Carolina, and will continue unless the state's lawyers accept full responsibility for protecting their clients: After an accident, a client both files a personal-injury suit and claims workers' compensation and Social Security benefits. The lawyers botch both cases, so the client sues them for malpractice.

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Legal malpractice checkup (access required)

Charles Putterman and Tommy Odom disagree on requiring attorneys to report whether they carry malpractice insurance, but both agree that attorneys should carry it. "Absolutely," Putterman, of Raleigh, said. Both lawyers have seen firsthand the harm clients can suffer as a result of malpractice, and both have represented clients suing uninsured lawyers. Dan Zureich, (pictured) president and CEO of North Carolina's largest insurer, Lawyers Mutual, said that because of unfavorable claims histories or because of their practice areas, not all attorneys are insurable.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice Claim – Statutes of Limitations & Repose – Domestic Relations – Divorce (access required)

Button v. McKnight. After the client's first wife filed a motion in 2008 for relief from their 2005 divorce judgment, attorney McClain from the defendant-law firm allegedly assured the client that his . . .

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