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FL Firm Loses Malpractice Appeal

Posted Aug 23, 2007 6:11 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Florida appeals court has upheld a $1.04 million malpractice verdict against a law firm sued by heirs of the Gannett newspaper fortune.

The suit claimed Gunster Yoakley & Stewart hired firm client JPMorgan to do estate planning work for Charles V. McAdam Jr., driving up the costs of estate administration, the Daily Business Review reports. Gunster Yoakley has offices in Miami and six other Florida locations.

McAdam was married to Sarah Gannett, the daughter of newspaper chain founder Frank Gannett. After his death, his sons sued, claiming the law firm and JPMorgan charged $1.8 million in unjustified fees, the legal publication says.

"Plaintiffs showed that their father's intent, as expressed in his will, was frustrated by the negligence of Gunster Yoakley and that, as a direct result of such negligence, their legacy was diminished," the 4th District Court of Appeal wrote in its opinion.

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