Holland & Knight Plans to Appeal $34.5M Malpractice Award; 'Resolution' Averts Punitive Verdict
Holland & Knight reached a deal on Tuesday to avoid a punitive damages verdict in a legal malpractice case after getting socked with a $34.5 million compensatory award last week.
Los Angeles jurors were deliberating punitive damages on Tuesday when the law firm reached a confidential agreement with investors who sued over the firm’s representation of Atlanta developer Shi Shailendra, according to the Daily Report. A lawyer for the plaintiffs called the agreement a “resolution” without disclosing details, but a spokesman for investors told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the law firm won’t have to pay punitive damages.
Meanwhile Holland & Knight general counsel Michael Chapman said the firm would appeal the $34.5 million verdict in the suit claiming legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Chapman said the plaintiffs suffered losses because of the real estate downturn, and there is no basis for liability by the law firm.
Holland & Knight had argued it represented entities the investors formed with Shailendra, but not the investors themselves, the Daily Report story says. “Although the plaintiffs claim to have been the firm’s clients, they utilized their own lawyers,” Chapman said in the statement. “They received legal advice from other law firms, not Holland & Knight.”
Chapman also called the award “wholly out of proportion to any alleged involvement by Holland & Knight.”