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Legal Malpractice Case Submitted to Jury

Legal Malpractice Case Submitted to Jury

David Domina's closing argument, delivered from a chair, while seated in front of the jury, put a conversational end to a week of tumultuous testimony in a major Nebraska legal malpractice case handled by David Domina and Claudia L. Stringfield-Johnson.

During days of testimony, jurors heard from eight lawyers-two experts for the Plaintiff from Western Nebraska and Michigan, respectively, one for the defense, and five lawyer witnesses with factual information about the case.

At issue was the advice of lawyers in a major Eastern Nebraska law firm who advised their client in connection with his efforts to get out of business with a partner.

The client owned fifty percent of a company with a municipal business franchise. He found himself unsupported by his partner, and mistrustful of him, so the client wanted to end the business relationship before the end of the then-current contract.

The lawyers advised the client to start a new company, bid for the new contract-the only one of its kind-while helping the old partner bid through the old company. When the dust settled, the course of action the client followed led him to five years of litigation, a trip to the State Supreme Court, and three separate trial proceedings in the trial court, and a loss. His experts in the malpractice action described the loss as "virtually certain."

"It is thoroughly embedded in the general jurisprudence of America" that a director or officer of a closely held corporation cannot compete against it or harm it. The Nebraska Supreme Court reiterated this nearly 90-year-old rule when it decided the client's case.

At issue at trial were (1) the advice given by the original lawyers, and (2) the lawyers' defense that the statute of limitations had expired on the malpractice claim-even though they continued to represent the client for nearly five years after the advice was given.

The ten women, two men jury retired to deliberate Friday, shortly before noon.

October 24, 2005
David A. Domina

Domina Law Group pc llo is a firm of trial lawyers. We specialize in complex litigation on a national basis. Our lawyers are ethical, aggressive, and committed to providing spirit and vitality to the judicial system and our client’s legal rights.

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