At 1:30 the Court will hear the case of Bobby Leon Gibson v. Williams, Williams & Montgomery.
Deborah Miles Gibson was declared unable to manage her finances and her brother Michael Leroy Miles was appointed as her conservator in March 2009 (even though she had a husband; if anyone provides an explanation why it happened this way I haven’t found it). When Mrs. Gibson died in September of 2010, it turned out (Appellant claims) that $235,000 had been disbursed from her conservatorship account leaving only $4,000. Upon her death, Mrs. Gibson’s conservatorship proceeding was converted into an estate proceeding. Williams, Williams and Montgomery represented Miles who became the executor of his sister’s estate.
After the estate was closed, in May 2012,, Mrs. Gibson’s husband Bobby Gibson filed to reopen the estate. According to WWM, Gibson failed to set the motion for a hearing or even serve it on the parties to the Estate. Five days later Gibson filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against WW&M alleging that the firm represented him and that the dual representation of Bobby Gibson and the executor of the estate was a conflict of interest. The circuit court in the legal malpractice case transferred the case to the chancery court. Gibson did not refile the case in chancery. WWM filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Gibson’s claims were collaterally estopped by the estate case, that it never had an attorney client relationship with Bobby Gibson, and causation was lacking because Gibson caused his own damages, if any, by not appealing the estate case. The chancellor granted WWM’s motion and Gibson appealed.
Williams’ Williams & Montgomery’s brief.
Gibson’s reply brief.
Watch the argument here.
Apparently the husband was the estranged husband and money was pouring out of the conservatorship to pay for Mrs. Gibson’s cancer treatments. I wasn’t able to follow the arguments closely but to the extent that there is confusion regarding the duties for attorneys representing the estate, the executor and the beneficiaries (not really my area), we’ll get some clarification.
The panel is made up of Justices Dickinson, Lamar and Coleman.