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Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

A-C Relationship Duration Issue Requires Trial

Thursday, September 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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On May 28, 2008 client spoke with attorney Todd about taking over representation in his divorce action. In June attorneys Todd and colleague Quigley agreed to do so. They filed an appearance on July 9. On July 25 Quigley left the firm. Client was told he could decide which counsel he desired going forward. On July 28 Todd filed a notice of withdrawal. Todd wrote client saying Quigley would take over and Todd would consult on the case, and that client should sign the letter agreeing to the transfer. Client signed it on August 6. Todd's billing ceased on July 25. Emails among counsel and client occurred thereafter. One email from client urged a meeting to "discuss team strategy." Todd entered a .3 on his August 5 timesheet but did not bill it. Todd's form letter submitting the July 2008 bill mentioned that any "retainer balance will be applied to future services." During the September trial Quigley emails to Todd suggesting Todd could appear at the trial and question a witness but he did not. Later client sued Todd for malpractice and the trial court granted Todd SJ finding the A-C relationship ended on July 28 when the withdrawal notice was served. In Cesso v. Todd, 92 Mass. App. 131 (Aug. 28, 2017) the court reversed. A fact issue existed as to when the relationship ended. Client was allowed a trial on whether the facts continued the relationship with Todd until the September trial, when Todd did not appear.       


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