Brief Fact Summary. Petitioners, defendants in a
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Attorneys may incur liability to non-clients in many situations in which it is foreseeable that their actions might harm them.
In denying liability in such actions to one not in privity of contract, courts have relied principally on two arguments: (1) that to allow such liability would deprive the parties to the contract of control of their own agreement; and (2) that a duty to the general public would impose a huge potential burden of liability on the contracting parties.View Full Point of Law
Issue. May a conservator’s attorney be held liable for failure to detect misappropriation of an estate assets?
Held. Yes. Attorneys may, as a matter of policy, be held liable to non-clients after a number of factors are considered, including the extent to which the transaction was designed to affect the plaintiff, the forseeability of harm to him, the degree of certainty that plaintiff would suffer injury, the connection between defendant’s conduct and plaintiff’s injuries suffered, and the policy of preventing future harm.
When an attorney represents the guardian of an incompetent, he assumes a relationship not only with the guardian, but with the ward.
Discussion. This is an important decision regarding the duties of attorneys to non-clients.