Oral arg. – MSSC – 8/7/2019

At 10:00 the MSSC will hear the case of Gulfport OB-GYN, P.A. v. Dukes, Dukes, Keating & Faneca, P.A. and Je’Nell B. Blum , a legal malpractice case.

In 2008 Gulfport OB-GYN hired the law firm of DDKF to draft an employment agreement for Dr. Donielle Daigle. In 2013, Dr. Daigle quit and started a competing clinic in Gulfport. Dr. Daigle sued Gulfport OB seeking a declaratory judgement that the covenant-not-to-compete was
unenforceable and monetary damages. Gulfport OB counter-claimed against Dr. Daigle for $150,000 in liquidated damages and attorney fees. The chancellor found the covenant not to compete unenforceable because it applied only if Dr. Daigle was fired and not if she voluntarily withdrew. . Gulfport OB-GYN then settled with Dr. Daigle by paying her $425,000. Gulfport OB-GYN then sued the law firm for malpractice in drafting the agreement. The court granted summary judgment to the law firm finding that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact on the issue of whether Dr. Donielle Daigle or her attorney would have accepted changes to the non-competition provision at issue in this case.”

Gulfport OB-GYN appealed arguing that the trial court erred when it
(1) recognized a non-existent “negotiation element” as a required element in a negligent draftsmanship legal malpractice case; and (2) misapplied the non-existent “negotiation element.” There is no “negotiation element” in negligent draftsmanship legal malpractice cases. But even if there was, Gulfport OB’s evidence creates a fact question for the jury.

Gulfport OB-GYN, P.A’s brief

Dukes, Dukes, Keating & Faneca, P.A. and Je’Nell B. Blum ‘s brief

Gulfport OB-GYN, P.A’s brief

Watch the argument here

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