February 28th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Legal Malpractice

Ford v. Oliver, et al., 2017 Pa. Super. 394 (December 14, 2017) Solano, J.  This is a dispute over validity of a deed.  Preliminary objections were granted on plaintiff’s complaint.  Involved was the 2001 sale of property by the Fords to Oliver.  The Fords alleged they intended to sell only one parcel of vacant land to Oliver and that, after the closing, the closing agent erroneously included in the deed the legal description not only of Parcel One, but also of another parcel, which contained mineral rights.  The Fords learned the original Oliver deed included both parcels in 2015 when they attempted to sell Parcel Two mineral rights to EQT and a representative of EQT informed them that a third party had already transferred those rights to EQT.  The lawsuit was initiated in 2015 long after the statute of limitations expired.  At most, the Fords have alleged that they were induced into signing a deed under the false pretense that the deed would include language limiting the conveyance to only one parcel. That is not forgery.  The Fords’ failure to read the deed and seek relief from its terms until…


October 31st, 2017 by Rieders Travis in Legal Malpractice

Young v. Smith, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144266 (September 6, 2017) Brann, J.  This case was decided by Judge Brann.  The Judge slammed and fined Attorney Cynthia Pollick for misconduct in this and other cases.  He really went through her whole history in a number of civil rights cases. He noted that I filed a Motion to Quash, which he granted.  He was then critical of Michael Zicolello who, like me, did not know anything about the attorney or the case but testified to criticize or talk about other opinions of the Judge.  What hurt is that the Judge ruled that after Beattie, Keister and Young “It is clear that the forum rates for attorneys in the Williamsport division of this Court to range from $150 to $325 per hour, depending upon the attorney’s experience, the complexity of litigation, and the quality of the submitted work product.  Importantly, the rates at the upper end of the range necessarily are reserved for those counsel with the most extensive experience and credentials who exhibit the highest performance in federal court.”  The Judge was praiseworthy of Duiller and Comitz, and stated that Pollick’s…


July 2nd, 2015 by Rieders Travis in Legal Malpractice

Silvagni v. Schorr, 113 A.3d 810 (Pa. Super. 2015).  This case was based upon an attorney malpractice where it is claimed by claimant that the attorney malpracticed in the handling of a workers' compensation claim.  The claimant said that the attorney gave him incorrect legal advice that ultimately led to a compromise and release.  The claimant said that but for the incorrect legal advice, he would not have agreed to the terms of the settlement.  Unless the workers' compensation claimant had specifically pled, and could prove, that the attorneys fraudulently induced him into signing the Compromise and Release Agreement, or he could prove that the attorney failed to explain the effect of that settlement, or that the settlement was somehow legally deficient, the former client is barred from maintaining an action in negligence against the lawyer.  It is clear that the lawyers were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.  There was no abuse of discretion in granting the attorneys summary judgment.

Stein v. Magarity, 102 A.3d 1010 (Pa. Super. 2014) – Case Summary

February 12th, 2015 by Rieders Travis in Legal Malpractice

Trial court erred in entering summary judgment against client in favor of lawyer.  The expert report of the client with respect to the damages he suffered was not too ambiguous.  The client produced an expert report supporting the client as to the attorney's obligation for the money paid.  The client could reasonably expect to pay a maximum of $50,000 for the attorney's services as described in the agreement.  However, the court would not permit the client to amend his complaint to allege negligence, an attorney/legal malpractice.  The reason for that is the law is clear that the "but for" rule applies.  It must be shown that but for the attorney's conduct the defendant/plaintiff would have obtained an acquittal or a complete dismissal of the charges and that did not happen here.  The client was not acquitted of the federal charges.  No negligence cause of action could be brought, therefore.  Stein v. Magarity, 102 A.3d 1010 (Pa. Super. 2014).

Brief Synopsis of Legal Malpractice Law

November 4th, 2013 by Rieders Travis in Legal Malpractice

A.  Malpractice by a criminal defense attorney If you believe your criminal defense attorney has malpracticed which resulted in an unjust conviction it is virtually impossible to pursue a claim against that attorney.  The Supreme Court essentially stated that you have to prove that you did not commit any of the unlawful acts for which you were charged or any lesser acts. In other words you have to prove that you are innocent. Of course if a jury already convicted you that may  virtually be impossible. Moreover, even if you could overcome this first hurdle the damages would then be limited to the amount spent on attorney's fees for the attorney who malpracticed.  In other words if it was court appointed counsel or the public defender's office that represented a criminal defendant those damages would obviously be zero.  Hence even if the criminal defense attorney malpracticed and you could prove your innocence, unless the defense attorney was privately retained and paid with your own money, you would not have suffered any damages and therefore have no claim. B.  Malpractice in civil cases In order to pursue a claim of legal…