Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dow v. Jones case brief

Dow v. Jones case brief summary
311 F.Supp.2d 461 (2004)

Defendant law firm filed a motion for summary judgment against plaintiff in plaintiff's action that involved claims of legal malpractice that arose from the representation of plaintiff in a criminal trial in Maryland state court.

The law firm was organized as a registered limited liability partnership (LLP). The state court had denied the law firm's motion for summary judgment, and the remaining defendants removed the case to the federal district court, and the district court denied defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, transfer the case, and denied plaintiff's motion for entry of default judgment. Plaintiff argued that the court should apply the law of the case doctrine, and uphold the state court's denial of the law firm's prior summary judgment motion.


  • The court found that plaintiff presented specific evidence that raised genuine issues as to material fact governing the law firm's liability for any legal malpractice committed by one partner. 
  • Plaintiff had raised genuine factual disputes as to whether the law firm formed an attorney-client relationship with plaintiff, under a theory of apparent authority or partnership by estoppel. 
  • Plaintiff also had raised genuine factual disputes as to whether the law firm remained liable for any malpractice that occurred after the LLP's dissolution, based on the rules governing winding up of partnership affairs and providing notice of dissolution.

The court denied the law firm's motion for summary judgment.

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