Justice Carol Robinson Edmead


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Plaintiff filed an action for legal malpractice and negligence, alleging that the law firm defendants provided erroneous estate planning advice to plaintiff, resulting in “millions of dollars of losses” to plaintiff and the estate. Plaintiff further alleged that defendants’ erroneous advice caused substantial legal and accounting fees to minimize the consequence of defendants’ malpractice. Plaintiff contended that defendants were aware that the deceased was divorced twice, but failed to advise the deceased and plaintiff of the potential consequences and impact of the separation agreement on the decedent’s estate. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that defendants never inquired about or obtained a copy of the decedent’s separation agreement and failed to advise plaintiff that the decedent’s first wife and two children had a potential claim to 50% of his estate. The court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint, determining that plaintiff failed to establish that defendants were the proximate cause of her injury. The court added that plaintiff’s assertion of what the deceased would have done had he received different advice is speculative and insufficient to support a claim for legal malpractice.