Texas Court of Appeals – Legal Malpractice Plaintiff May Not “Fracture” Legal Malpractice Claims Into Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
By Will Jordan
Plaintiffs sued their attorneys for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. Texas law recognizes a “rule against fracturing a negligence claim” which “prevents legal malpractice plaintiffs from opportunistically transforming a claim that sounds only in negligence into some other claim.” As the court noted, “[i]f the gist of the client’s complaint is that the attorney did not exercise that degree of care, skill, or diligence as attorneys of ordinary skill and knowledge commonly possess, then that complaint should be pursued as negligence claim, rather than some other claim.” The court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duty claim as it was essentially a claim for legal malpractice.
Neubaum v. Stanfield, No. 14-13-00943-CV (Tex. Ct. App. April 9, 2015).
Read the full opinion here.