December 17, 2020 4 minutes to read ∙ 800 words

Law Firm Not Liable to Adverse Party for Groundless Suit

By John M. McNichols

Reprinted with permission from Litigation News, November 25, 2020. ©2020 by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

A lawyer who files suit solely to earn legal fees is not liable to the adverse party even if the suit is groundless. According to the Supreme Court of Kentucky, a lawyer’s desire to earn fees is not an improper purpose sufficient to sustain a claim for wrongful use of civil proceedings against an attorney who represented its adversary in a prior litigation. The high court also held that negligence claim would not lie because an attorney owes no duty of care to an adverse party. ABA Section of Litigation leaders view the decision in Seiller Waterman, LLC v. RLB Properties as consistent with existing legal principles and expect that other high courts will come to similar conclusions if presented with the same issue.

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