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Capitol Hill Group, Inc. v. Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, LLP

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
569 F.3d 485 (2009)


Facts

Capitol Hill Group (CHG) (plaintiff) was involved in a zoning dispute in the District of Columbia. CHG filed for bankruptcy and was represented by Shaw Pittman (defendant). During the course of the bankruptcy proceeding, Shaw Pittman terminated its representation of CHG. Subsequently, the District of Columbia’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) issued an order affecting CHG’s rights and, presumably believing that Shaw Pittman still represented CHG, sent the order to Shaw Pittman but not CHG. Meanwhile, as part of the bankruptcy proceeding, CHG filed a complaint, alleging that Shaw Pittman’s fees were unreasonable in light of the quality of the representation the firm provided. The bankruptcy court upheld the fees. Separately, CHG brought suit against Shaw Pittman, alleging that the firm’s failure to forward the BZA order constituted malpractice. The district court granted Shaw Pittman summary judgment, finding that CHG’s malpractice claim was barred by res judicata. CHG appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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