Legal malpractice claims can harm a lawyer’s public and private reputations. A strong defense is important to protecting those hard earned reputations. Shareholder Brian Terry routinely defends these cases and was retained to defend a local judge who was sued by a client arising from a conviction when the judge was in private practice. Mr. Terry successfully moved to dismiss the case, before discovery ever started, because the judge had been appointed to defend the criminal via a public defender program. The Supreme Court of Nevada has ruled attorneys functioning in that capacity are protected by sovereign immunity.
The plaintiff then appealed, arguing the case should be reinstated. The case was assigned to Nevada’s Court of Appeals that opened in 2015 to relieve the appellate backlog. After briefing from Mr. Terry, the Court unanimously concluded the client had either waived these arguments or, even if not, then the errors still did not overcome the various hurdles to reinstating the case.
“This was an extremely dubious claim, and the newly instituted Court of Appeals brought the appeal to resolution expeditiously,” said Mr. Terry.