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October 2015

San Francisco Team Secures Appellate Court Affirmance of Dismissal of Clients in Professional Liability Action

Gordon & Rees founding partner Stuart M. Gordon and partner James K. Holder of San Francisco recently obtained a decision from the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District, affirming the complete dismissal of a legal malpractice suit that Gordon and Holder had obtained at the trial court level on behalf of their client, a Bay Area probate law firm.

The plaintiff had brought the professional liability action in Santa Clara County Superior Court seeking damages in excess of $1 million for the alleged negligent advice of counsel regarding the settlement of a complicated trust administration dispute in which the plaintiff had served as trustee. Gordon and Holder won the dismissal of the action on behalf of their client approximately one month before trial on a motion for terminating sanctions based on the plaintiff’s willful failure to follow a court order directing her to appear for the completion of her deposition.

On appeal, plaintiff’s attorney attempted to argue that the lower court’s order was void and the lower court had abused its discretion based on an alleged lack of proper notice. However, Gordon and Holder successfully persuaded the California Court of Appeal that the motion for terminating sanctions was properly granted at the lower court level, resulting in the appellate court’s affirmance of the lower court’s judgment.

In its October 16 unpublished opinion, the appellate court held that the plaintiff had not established any reversible error in granting the motion for terminating sanctions, thereby affirming the trial court dismissal obtained by Gordon and Holder.

Stuart M. Gordon
James K. Holder



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