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COA affirms judgment for law firm on malpractice claim

December 31, 2015

A law firm was properly granted summary judgment on a malpractice counter-complaint a bankruptcy client filed after the firm sued for nonpayment of legal fees.

Stephen Dotlich counter-sued Tucker Hester LLC, which brought suit against him alleging he failed to pay more than $10,000 in legal fees. A Hamilton County trial court granted the law firm summary judgment, triggering this appeal.

Judge Elaine Brown wrote that Dotlich is judicially estopped from pursuing a malpractice claim because he did not include the claim as a potential asset during bankruptcy.

“Based upon the designated evidence, Dotlich’s malpractice claim constituted property of the bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. § 541. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in determining that Dotlich is precluded from pursuing the claim and in entering summary judgment in favor of Tucker on Dotlich’s counterclaim for malpractice.”  

The case is Steven E. Dotlich v. Tucker Hester, LLC, 29A02-1503-CC-125.  
 

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