Lack of Payment Dooms Suit Against Lawyers (PA)

The relationship between CD Realty and Colliers, Lanard, & Axilbund, soured when CD Realty failed to pay Colliers commission that was due pursuant to an agreement to sell commercial property.  Colliers sued CD Realty, and CD hired the firm Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco to represent them in this underlying suit.

The firm was unsuccessful in trying to argue that the agency agreement between the parties was unenforceable, and after a bench trial Colliers was awarded $421,933.  Unhappy with the award, CD decided to bring a malpractice action against its lawyers.  Among other claims, CD alleged that its lawyers didn’t adequately discuss its settlement options.

The Court granted summary judgment to the lawyers basing its decision, in part, on the fact that testimony showed Colliers was unwilling to settle the case for lower than the amount of the award.  Instead, the lowest amount it would have taken during settlement was $700,000, which was considerably higher than the award.

In addition, despite its apparent unhappiness with the award, a third party, Silver Lake Office Holdings, paid the judgment without requiring any repayment by CD Realty.  As a result, CD Realty did not actually suffer a loss as a result of their claims, and could not sustain an action against its attorneys.

Thanks to Thalia Staikos for her contribution to this post.