Articles Posted in Legal Profession

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Source: IN THE MATTER OF ESTATE OF AMUNDSON, 2015 ND 253 – ND: Supreme Court 2015 – Google Scholar

This appeal dealt with the issue of fees charged to probate estates. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a judgement against a lawyer that he repay $95,000 in legal fees that were excessive.

After Donald Amundson passed away in 2011, two executors were appointed. Donald’s will provided that all of his property was to pass to the Donald G. Amundson Trust. The trial court found that one of the co-executors breached a fiduciary duty owed to the estate by paying John Widdel, Jr.’s fee bills without questioning them. The District Court ordered Widdel to repay $95,000 to the Estate.

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Workforce Solutions v. Sara L. Pettinger and Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C., 2105 IL (1st) 121265-U.

In 2006, Workforce sued Urban Services of America, Inc., for breach of contract when Urban allegedly failed to pay for $573,000 in services. In 2008, Workforce obtained a default judgment against Urban. The judgment could not be collected because Urban was insolvent. Workforce alleged in the current case that “Pettinger and the Firm fraudulently conspired with Urban to delay the proceedings in order to prevent Workforce from obtaining recovery of its 2008 judgment.”  Workforce also alleged that the defendants concealed a key document during discovery in the underlying case.

Workforce alleged that Pettinger unreasonably protracted and delayed the discovery process in the underlying case  “According to plaintiff, after ‘delaying the progress of the case and delaying discovery for over two years’ and after Urban transferred its assets to insiders, in May 2008, upon motion, Pettinger and the Firm withdrew their representation of Urban.” Shortly thereafter, Workforce obtained a default judgment against Urban for $1,305,668.56.

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IN RE MARRIAGE OF WIXOM AND WIXOM, Wash: Court of Appeals, 3rd Div. 2014 – Google Scholar.

This is an appeal from a divorce case in which a lawyer (Robert Caruso) and his client (Rick Wixom) were held jointly and severally liable for a $55,000 sanction award. The lawyer and client were sanctioned because, in the underlying custody litigation, they made false charges about Rick’s ex-wife Linda.

Here is where the lawyer made an error. He appealed the sanctions against himself and filed an appeal for his client, Rick Wixom. The court explains how the lawyer threw the client under the bus:

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Former Top Leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf Are Indicted – NYTimes.com.

The New York Times is reporting that the former leaders of Dewey Ballantine have been indicted for deceiving banks and other investors with false accounting information. This is a sad end for a once great law firm. For those who were partners of the firm (or shareholders) the firm’s demise has caused significant litigation and grief.