Cert. grant – legal malpractice

Forbes v. St. Martin, Mahoney & Associates – Court of Appeals opinion:  Cert. granted Dec. 5, 2013. Forbes was injured in a gas station explosion. A Louisiana attorney traveled to Mississippi to sign Forbes as a client. Forbes was in a coma so St. Martin advanced his wife $700 and had her sign the contract. St. Martin then associated a Mississippi firm to file the suit. The suit settled for $13.5 million and the firms split $4.6 million. Prior to the settlement, St. Martin advanced the Forbes some $100,000 in expenses and vacations. Forbes filed suit against St Martin alleging that improper conduct voided the contract of employment and St. Martin was not entitled to any fees. The Harrison County Chancery Cout granted summary judgment to St. Martin on all claims. The Court of Appeals reversed finding there were sufficient factual issues as to 1) whether the cash advances were sufficient to vitiate the contract (apparently the cash advances were ok in Louisiana); 2) whether St. Martin was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and whether this invalidated the contract; and 3) whether legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duties in signing up a client in a coma (and later heavily medicated) voided the contract. Forbes has filed an additional brief.

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