Pretzel & Stouffer

Summary Judgment Victory For Divorce Attorney In Legal Malpractice Case

Pretzel & Stouffer partner, Jim Sipchen, recently won a Motion for summary judgment for an attorney in a very unique and complex legal malpractice case arising from the attorney’s handling of a divorce case. The allegations were that following the entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, the lawyer failed to promptly enter two Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (“QDRO”) that were necessary to transfer various 401k retirement accounts out of the marital assets to the plaintiff. The plaintiff contended that this delay had caused her to be unable to immediately liquidate those accounts in a falling stock market, and by the time she received transfer of those funds, she had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In his Motion, Jim raised multiple defenses, including the plaintiff’s inability to establish proximate cause and damages under the doctrine of judicial estoppel due to admissions and acknowledgements the plaintiff made in the settlement of her underlying divorce case; the plaintiff’s deposition testimony having demonstrated that her purported damages were caused by her own poor investment decisions, not by any lawyer misconduct; and the expiration of the statute of limitations. The court’s decision was ultimately based upon deposition testimony that showed the case to be barred by the statute of limitations.

<< Back to recent news