Court of Appeal Upholds Summary Judgement in Legal Malpractice Suit

Nossaman News Release

SAN FRANCISCO (July 27, 2005) – The California Court of Appeal, First District, upheld a summary judgment in the case of Praxis Development Co. v. Richman, Lawrence, Greene & Chizever, clearing the defendant law firm of a looming $12 million liability.

"We are very pleased with the decision," said Kurt W. Melchior, Partner at Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott and attorney for the Richman firm. "The court's dismissal of the case due to a lack of a legitimate dispute was the ideal way to clear our client of any liability."

The dispute goes back to 1990 when land owner Specialty Restaurants Corporation entered into an agreement with Praxis Development Company to build a million square foot office building on property in Foster City. Specialty brought suit to be relieved of this agreement. An attorney with the Richman firm represented Praxis in that case which Specialty won.

Praxis made the unusually bold claim that better performance by the Richman lawyer would have preserved its right to develop the property, and that it would have earned $12 million – the amount it contends was earned by a different developer who erected different improvements on the site in a different market. The court held that Praxis had lost any right to develop the property and that the lawyer's performance could not have saved that right.

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