Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Georgia Supreme Court
Villanueva v. First American Title Ins. Co.
In 2007, Appellant Derick Villanueva acted as the closing attorney for a mortgage-refinance transaction in which Homecomings Financial, LLC served as the lender supplying funds to pay off earlier mortgages on the secured property. Appellee First American Title Insurance Company issued title insurance on the transaction. Pursuant to Villanueva’s instructions, Homecomings wired funds into a specified escrow account. However, the funds were not used to pay off the earlier mortgages; instead, the funds were withdrawn and the account closed by a person not a lawyer. First American paid off the earlier mortgages and, pursuant to its closing protection letter to Homecomings, became "subrogated to all rights and remedies [Homecomings] would have had against any person or property…." First American then filed this lawsuit against appellants, the estate of another attorney, the escrow account, the non-lawyer who withdrew the funds from the escrow account, and others, seeking damages for legal malpractice and breach of a contract with Homecomings. The trial court denied summary judgment to appellants. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether a legal malpractice claims were not per se unassignable. After studying the issue, the Court agreed with the appellate court that legal malpractice claims are not per se unassignable. View "Villanueva v. First American Title Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Inquiry Concerning Judge Anthony Peters
After receiving complaints about the alleged misconduct of Catoosa County Magistrate Court Judge Anthony Peters, the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) initiated an investigation and subsequently filed formal charges to have Judge Peters permanently removed from his position as a judge and barred from ever holding or seeking elected or appointed judicial office in the State of Georgia. The court agreed with the recommendation of the JQC where Judge Peters, among other things, obtained and consumed marijuana at least once a week from March to May of 2010; inappropriately used his judicial office to advance the personal interests of a family member; pointed a firearm at himself and indicated to another Magistrate Judge that he was not afraid to die; appeared on a local cable television show, made derogatory remarks about the Chief Magistrate Judge, publicly disclosed that he had filed a complaint against the Chief Magistrate Judge, and displayed a photograph of an individual and identified the individual by name as a confidential informant; made a phone call to a local cable television show after initially trying to disguise his voice with multiple foreign accents and made certain comments; and refused to work certain hours. View "Inquiry Concerning Judge Anthony Peters" on Justia Law