Feb 21 2014

Verdict 2014-7, February 21, 2014: Hartford Partner Jim Brawley and Associate Mike Keller

Verdict 2014-7, February 21, 2014: Hartford Partner Jim Brawley and Associate Mike Keller obtained a defense verdict in a legal malpractice case after a two week jury trial in Hartford Superior Court. The plaintiff was a Company that bought an $8 million dollar apartment building. Our lawyer client was the closing lawyer for the purchase. The Company had a $7 million dollar mortgage and needed to make a $1 million dollar down payment at closing. Without informing our lawyer, the manager of the Company hired another lawyer to arrange financing with two sets of investors, each of whom invested $1 million dollars. The $2 million dollars in investment monies all flowed through our lawyer’s client account, though she thought it was all from the same set of investors. At closing, our lawyer had an extra million dollars which she sent to the Company as instructed. The $1 million dollars was promptly stolen by the manger of the Company. The claim against our lawyer was that when she received the investors’ money she had a duty to find out the identity of the investors and what they were getting for their investment. The plaintiff’s expert further claimed that there was so much extra money at closing that it should have been a “red flag” to our lawyer that something was wrong and she should have stopped the closing to find out why the deal had so much extra cash. Our defense was that the cause of any harm to the Company was the theft of the money by the manager of the Company. We also argued that the Company went to another lawyer behind our lawyer's back to set up its deals with two sets of investors and, therefore, that any harm to the Company was the result of the work of the other lawyer and the Company’s own conduct. We argued that if the plaintiff wanted our lawyer to protect it from the fraud of its manager, the Company had a duty to be honest with our lawyer. After two weeks of evidence, the jury was out for two hours and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff had turned down a very significant offer before trial.

Tagged under

trial results

Practice Areas

Legal Malpractice

Back to the Blog