Posts tagged "Guaranty"

Doe v. American Guaranty and Liability Co., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-018-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   16-P-183                                   Appeals Court   JOHN DOE  vs.  AMERICAN GUARANTY AND LIABILITY CO. & others.[1]     No. 16-P-183.   Essex.     November 8, 2016. – March 1, 2017.   Present:  Wolohojian, Milkey, & Shin, JJ.   Attorney at Law, Malpractice, Communication with represented party.  Evidence, Legal malpractice, Privileged communication.  Privileged Communication.  Waiver.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March 17, 2015.   Motions to dismiss were heard by Robert A. Cornetta, J.     Michael A. Tucker for the plaintiff. William T. Bogaert for George Rockas. Marissa I. Delinks for H. Ernest Stone. Jonathan Small for American Guaranty and Liability Co.     MILKEY, J.  Attorney H. Ernest Stone represented John Doe in a criminal case and a related tort action.  In the course of that representation, Doe relayed certain information to Stone that all parties indisputably agree was subject to attorney-client privilege.  After the tort action ended in a default judgment against Doe, Doe brought a legal malpractice action against Stone based on his handling of the tort case.  The malpractice action concluded via a settlement agreement.  Doe next filed a complaint in the Superior Court alleging that in defending the malpractice action, Stone misused the privileged information he received during his earlier representation of Doe.  Doe named as defendants Stone; George Rockas, the attorney who represented Stone in the malpractice action; and American Guaranty and Liability Co. (American), Stone’s legal malpractice insurer.  The defendants filed motions to dismiss, raising a wide variety of defenses.[2]  See Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b), 365 Mass. 754 (1974).  The judge allowed the motions and judgment entered dismissing the complaint.  Doe appeals.  Because we agree with the motion judge that in bringing the malpractice action, Doe waived the privilege that otherwise applied to the information at issue, we affirm.  Resolving the case on that ground, we have no occasion to reach the defendants’ other defenses. Background.  As noted, this appeal involves four related actions.  We begin by summarizing those actions in the order they were brought, reserving certain details for later discussion.  Our factual recitation is drawn from the allegations set forth in the amended complaint in the action before us, supplemented by background facts drawn from the attachments to that complaint and documents that recount the course of the earlier proceedings.  See Shaer v. Brandeis Univ., […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 2, 2017 at 8:15 am

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