Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Levine v. Smith (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 18, 2006)

I generally comment, at least briefly, about any significant opinion that involves a successful malpractice suit against a California attorney. If only because they highlight the dangers associated with, for example, zoning out of your law practice and hiding in a cave. While the cases around you collapse.

Like here. Actually, this case involves a $2.5 million default judgment, so doesn't actually address the merits. But what I gather from the prior disciplinary record of the defendant, Lawrence G. Smith -- who's been disciplined three separate times in the past couple of years, who twice forgot or failed to pay his bar dues, and who's currently ineligible to practice law -- that's apparently what transpired.

Fortunately, for Mr. Smith, anyway, the default judgment against him was reversed by Justice Yegan on a procedural technicality. So that's one adverse consequence that will go away, at least for now. Hopefully he can get his life together.

Still, the case is a cautionary tale.

P.S. - One more thing. The caption and the opinion lists the defendant as "Lawrence G. Smith", but the counsel lists "Lawrence O. Smith" as appearing pro per. Let's change that.