Causes of action – legal malpractice claim cannot be assigned: Davis v. Scott (COA 2/13/2009)

Davis v. Scott
2009 WL 367219
Opinion by Judge Dixon; Judges Caperton and VanMeter concurred.

The Court affirmed an order of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of appellees and dismissing appellants’ claim for legal malpractice.

The Court held that the trial court did not err in dismissing the claim. Appellants’ assignment of the proceeds from the legal malpractice action as settlement in federal litigation, conditioned upon appellant pursuing a legal malpractice claim against his attorney, constituted an impermissible assignment of a legal malpractice claim, which was void as against public policy. The Court further held that the cause of action could not be maintained apart from the assignment as, under the express terms of the settlement agreement in the federal litigation, appellant could not be the real party in interest.

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