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Brissette v. Ryan, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-172-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   14-P-919                                        Appeals Court   MARIE D. BRISSETTE  vs.  EDWARD J. RYAN, JR., & another.[1] No. 14-P-919. Hampden.     December 8, 2014. – October 29, 2015.   Present:  Rubin, Milkey, & Sullivan, JJ. Practice, Civil, Judgment notwithstanding verdict.  Negligence, Attorney at law.  Attorney at law, Malpractice.  Real Property, Life estate.   Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on September 7, 2010.   The case was tried before Edward J. McDonough, Jr., J., and a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict was heard by him.     Roger J. Brunelle for the plaintiff. Richard L. Neumeier for the defendants.      RUBIN, J.  After a Superior Court trial in this legal malpractice case, a jury found that the primary defendant, Edward J. Ryan, Jr., was negligent in his representation of the plaintiff, Marie D. Brissette, and awarded damages to her in the amount of $ 100,000 against Ryan and his law firm, Ryan, Boudreau, Randall, Kirkpatrick & Baker, LLP (law firm) (collectively, defendants).[2]  The defendants filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (n.o.v.) which was allowed by the trial judge, who ordered judgment to enter for the defendants.  Marie[3] has appealed.  We reverse, and order reinstatement of the verdict in favor of Marie. 1.  Facts.  Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Marie, the jury could have found the following facts.  See Haddad v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (No. 1), 455 Mass. 91, 94 n.5 (2009).  In 1994, Marie and her husband Robert (collectively, Brissettes), consulted Ryan for advice about how to protect their home in South Hadley from Medicaid[4] liens in the event that either needed long-term care.  Ryan advised them that they could transfer the title to their property to their four adult children with reserved life estates to protect themselves from Medicaid liens.  He advised them that transferring title for less than adequate consideration would have a negative impact on them if they applied for Medicaid within three years.  The Brissettes followed this advice, transferring the property to their children and reserving life estates for themselves.  Their children signed a deed transferring the house back to them, which Ryan held in escrow, to be kept there until the Brissettes wanted to sell the South Hadley house. Thirteen years later, in July of 2007, the Brissettes and two of their four children, Paul Brissette and Cynthia Parenteau, met at […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm

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