Court of Appeal Upholds Summary Judgement in Legal Malpractice Suit
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.
Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott LLP, a California-based law firm, specializes in complex civil litigation; infrastructure; land use, environmental, real property and water; healthcare; corporate transactions and public policy law. The firm represents a variety of public and private sector clients with interests ranging from aerospace and transportation to real estate development and water. Founded in 1959, Nossaman has more than 135 attorneys and lobbyists in California offices located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Irvine, as well as in Washington, D.C./Virginia and Austin, Texas.