X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
On Petition for Review from the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas

William Satterwhite sued his former criminal defense attorney, George Jacobs, for professional negligence and breach of contract. Jacobs moved for summary judgment on the professional negligence claim, asserting that Peeler v. Hughes & Luce, 909 S.W.2d 494 (Tex. 1995), precluded Satterwhite’s claim as a matter of law. Satterwhite responded that he was asserting only a claim for breach of contract. The trial court granted summary judgment without stating the grounds. On appeal, Satterwhite complained that the trial court erred by granting summary judgment on the breach-of-contract claim because it was not addressed in Jacobs’s motion for summary judgment, but he did not complain about the summary judgment on the professional negligence claim. Without distinguishing between the professional negligence and breach-of-contract claims, the court of appeals reversed and remanded the cause to the trial court. 26 S.W.3d 35. We reverse and render in part and affirm in part the court of appeals’ judgment.

Satterwhite was charged with falsely holding himself out as a lawyer. He hired Jacobs, a licensed attorney, to represent him at a hearing on the State’s “Motion to Hold Defendant Without Bond.” The trial court granted the State’s motion, and Satterwhite was ordered incarcerated pending trial. Satterwhite alleges that his incarceration was due to Jacobs’s “negligence and wilful and wanton conduct” at the hearing and that Jacobs violated his oral contract with Satterwhite to “vigorously appeal” the trial court’s ruling and to “vigorously prepare for and try the criminal charge.” According to Satterwhite’s affidavit, Jacobs did file a notice of appeal, but in the wrong court, and then failed to pursue the matter further. Jacobs contends that although Satterwhite did not pay him any additional fees, Jacobs made sure that the appeal was “promptly filed and perfected.” Ultimately, Satterwhite retained new counsel, pleaded guilty to the felony offense of falsely holding himself out as a lawyer, and accepted ten years probation. Satterwhite then sued Jacobs for $750,000 in actual and punitive damages allegedly resulting from “Defendant’s negligence and breach of his contract with Plaintiff.”

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now
Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now
Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now
June 20, 2024
Atlanta, GA

The Daily Report is honoring those attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession.


Learn More
June 27, 2024
New York

Consulting Magazine identifies consultants that have the biggest impact on their clients, firms and the profession.


Learn More
July 11, 2024
New York, NY

The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers recognizes U.S.-based law firms performing exemplary work on behalf of plaintiffs.


Learn More

June-August 2024 Environmental and Land Use - Associate Attorney (1-3 years) Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo is acc...


Apply Now ›

Our client, a highly regarded boutique firm with a strong real estate practice, is seeking an associate with 3 or more years of experience i...


Apply Now ›

Our client, an incredibly successful and rapidly growing Big-Law spin-off and Certified Women s Business Enterprise, is seeking to hire a ta...


Apply Now ›
06/14/2024
New Jersey Law Journal

Professional Announcement


View Announcement ›
04/29/2024
The National Law Journal

Professional Announcement


View Announcement ›