EQUITANIA INS. CO. V. SLONE & GARRETT, P.S.C.
TORTS – Legal Negligence
S.Ct. reverses the CA, which had affirmed the TC SJ/jury verdict rejecting a very complex legal malpractice claim.
Two groups of shareholders fought for control of Equitania, an insurance company providing coverage for horse owners. One group of shareholders sued attorney Garrett alleging she negligently advised them during the dispute. The TC granted partial SJ to the attorney; the jury found for her on the remainder.
On appeal, the S.Ct. held that the jury instructions given by the TC over objection were not an accurate statement of the law regarding legal malpractice in Kentucky because they provided for an exception from attorney liability for errors in judgment. Whether an error of judgment is legal malpractice is a question of fact for the jury. The S.Ct. also held it was error to exclude expert testimony as no prejudice was shown.