RRD Wins Summary Judgment in Legal Malpractice Case

July 5, 2011

RRD partner Rob Laney obtained a summary judgment in favor of his client, a local criminal defense lawyer, in a legal malpractice case based on an alleged failure to adequately confirm specific terms of a plea agreement. The plaintiff had been charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment. RRD's client negotiated a plea agreement during jury selection in the criminal trial pursuant to which the plaintiff pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge and completely avoided imprisonment. The plaintiff, however, claimed that his former lawyer did not adequately ensure that he would not have to register as a sex offender or undergo sex offender treatment as part of the plea deal. Both conditions were imposed on the plaintiff by the Department of Adult Probation after the plea was entered.

The plaintiff disclosed an expert witness to support his claim of malpractice, but the expert conceded at his deposition that there had been no deviation from the standard of care and, in fact, disavowed an earlier affidavit that he gave in the case in which he expressed the opinion that the defendant was negligent. After granting the plaintiff several additional months to find a replacement expert, the court granted summary judgment on behalf of the defendant.