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April 2013

Gordon & Rees Denver Team Wins Arbitration in Legal Malpractice Case

Gordon & Rees Denver partner John Palmeri and associate Lance Ream won a defense award on behalf of their clients, a Denver lawyer and his firm.

The plaintiff retained the defendants to represent him in a personal injury case, which he settled pre-suit. He then brought a legal malpractice lawsuit in state court against his former attorneys, alleging they provided him with misinformation that induced him to settle the underlying case for far less than it was worth.

In particular, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants told him he received the underlying defendant’s policy limits when, in actuality, there was further coverage available. The plaintiff claimed that he was only interested in settling the underlying case for policy limits.

The defense denied misleading the plaintiff and argued that he received a favorable settlement.

Based on a provision in the parties’ fee agreement, the defense successfully stayed the lawsuit and compelled binding arbitration. During arbitration, the plaintiff testified that he suffered severe and permanent injuries and claimed damages in excess of the underlying defendant’s policy limits. The parties offered competing evidence and expert testimony.

Upon completion, the arbiter found in favor of the defendants and awarded no damages to the plaintiff.

John M. Palmeri