Hon. MARY FINGAL SCHULTE

TYPES OF LEGAL MALPRACTICE CASES HANDLED:


Judge Schulte presided over matters claiming professional negligence arising out of handling of probate and trust matters, family law matters, personal injury matters - both transactional and litigated type matters; claims arising from claims by attorneys for unpaid services and counter-claims of client for malpractice and improper/unauthorized work, overbilling.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES:

  • Plaintiff claimed defendant family law lawyer failed to advise her of settlement offers, in her pending dissolution, and that as a result, she became embroiled in numerous litigation matters in probate court and civil filings by her lawyers for attorney fees.  Defendant denied failing to advise her and disputed causation.

  • Legal malpractice alleging negligent advice by lawyer to fire CEO after sexual harassment allegations were made.  Plaintiff corporation claims CEO should have been counseled first.

  • Complaint filed by Plaintiffs against Lawyers & asserting causes of action for legal malpractice and breach of written agreement, alleging that Plaintiff hired Defendant to represent him in a dissolution action in which his former wife filed a request for spousal support and attorney’s fees. Defendant failed to file a copy of the prenuptial agreement and Plaintiff’s income and expense declaration; he claimed he would not have had to pay spousal support and attorney’s fees had those documents been filed.  Plaintiff retained in another lawyer, also a defendant, as counsel in the divorce action.  He claimed that second lawyer also failed to adequately represent him, resulting in a finding by the family court judge that the prenuptial agreement was invalid.

  • Attorney fee suit. Plaintiff alleged he and defendant had a fee agreement whereby defendant would pay him 25% from sale of a dental practice.  Defendant claimed no written fee agreement.  Plaintiff alternatively sued on quantum meruit theory.

  • Legal malpractice. In underlying matter, Plaintiff retained defendant as her lawyer to prosecute a medical malpractice case on her behalf. Defendant went to trial against doctor, dismissing hospital.  Defense verdict in underlying case.

  • Complex legal malpractice action. Plaintiff claimed defendant negligently failed to advise him that an option to purchases was valid and that a previous offer to purchase was not an exercise of the option. Plaintiff was a general partnership which owned residential and commercial properties. Involved preparation of two real estate purchase contracts.

  • Legal malpractice suit arising out of preparation of a trust.  Plaintiff claimed that defendants gave negligent legal advice which resulted in her not receiving her half interest in the marital residence purchased by her ex-husband during their marriage.

LEGAL MALPRACTICE

Representative Cases


Judge, Orange County Superior Court (Ret.)