Attorneys obtained summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice of a complex legal malpractice action
Attorneys obtained summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice of a complex legal malpractice action. Plaintiff was the sole shareholder of a national trucking company that owned and/or leased approximately 300 trucks and employed over 75 full-time employees (excluding the drivers). In 2003, the company sought protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and retained defendant as the bankruptcy attorney for the company. Plaintiff filed a malpractice action against defendant alleging that defendant owed an independent duty to protect the Plaintiff's personal interests and to provide counsel and advice regarding Plaintiff's personal exposure to any company debt discharged by the bankruptcy proceedings to which Plaintiff had executed indemnity/guaranty agreements because Plaintiff was the sole shareholder. Defense attorney argued that notwithstanding the status of Plaintiff being the sole shareholder of the company, the company itself was a separate and distinct legal entity such that it would have been impermissible under the United States Bankruptcy Code for the client to have represented both the company and the individual Plaintiff shareholder. The court agreed and found that there was no basis for an inference of an attorney-client relationship to exist between Plaintiff in an individual capacity and our client.