Attorney Gets SLAPPed!

It is never a good sign when the court of appeal opinion starts off: 

“Sometimes lawyers seem to forget that, in their professional capacities, they owe a duty of loyalty to their clients — even when they no longer like them.  And when a lawyer becomes convinced his client is on the wrong side of a particular legal dispute, the lawyer generally has the option of staying out of that dispute.  He does not, however, have the option of switching sides and suing a client on behalf of a third party.”

Believe it or not, it goes downhill from there!  The upshot of the decision is that a client is exercising her constitutional right to petition when she files a request to arbitrate a fee dispute.  Subsequent litigation based on that filing is therefore subject to a special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure §425.16.

You might want to share this opinion with attorney in your office responsible for risk managment.

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