Where a legal malpractice plaintiff provided no expert testimony to support his claims against defendant lawyer, summary judgment for the defendant was affirmed.
In Parks v. Holland, No. E2021-01506-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. May 15, 2023), plaintiff filed a pro se legal malpractice claim against defendant attorney based on the attorney’s representation of plaintiff in an employment discrimination/wrongful termination case. In the underlying case, plaintiff had settled his claim for $75,000 during a second mediation, but in this action, plaintiff asserted that he had instructed defendant attorney not to settle the underlying case for less than mid-to-high six figures. Plaintiff further asserted that defendant was negligent in failing to take into account plaintiff’s loss of health benefits, and in failing to file suit against another potential defendant.
Defendant attorney filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that “Plaintiff provided no expert testimony to establish the standard of care for attorneys and no such evidence of any breach of that standard of care.” With his motion, defendant filed the expert affidavit of another attorney as well as his own affidavit. Both affidavits pointed out problems with plaintiff’s underlying case, opined that the plaintiff received a favorable settlement in the employment case, pointed out that plaintiff signed and agreed to the settlement, and stated that defendant did not breach the required standard of care. In addition, defendant presented evidence that plaintiff was informed that defendant would not file suit against the additional defendant and that plaintiff had stated he was happy with his representation after the mediated settlement.