Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nichols v. Keller case brief

Nichols v. Keller case brief summary
15 Cal. App. 4th 1672, 19 Cal. Rptr. 2d 601 (1993)

Plaintiff client appealed a decision of the Superior Court of Stanislaus County (California), which granted summary judgment to defendant attorneys in plaintiff's legal malpractice case arising from an industrial accident.

-Plaintiff client, who was injured in an industrial accident, brought legal malpractice action against defendant attorney who originally accepted his workers' compensation case and defendant attorney who was hired to assist, claiming that defendants failed to properly advise him of the possibility of third party claims.
-The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of defendants, and plaintiff appealed.

The court held that defendants owed plaintiff a duty of care to advise him on available remedies, including third party actions.

-The court concluded that there were factual issues as to the viability of a third party action based on the peculiar risk doctrine which precluded summary judgment.
-The court reversed the trial court's orders granting summary judgment to defendants.

OUTCOME: The court reversed the grant of summary judgment to defendant attorneys in plaintiff client's legal malpractice action because defendants breached their duty of care to advise plaintiff, who hired them to handle a workers' compensation claim after he was injured in an industrial action, of the possibility of a third party civil action.

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