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Equitania Insurance Co. v. Slone & Garret, P.S.C.

Supreme Court of Kentucky
191 S.W.3d 552 (2006)


Facts

The Vimont shareholder group (Vimont) (plaintiff) of the Equitania Insurance Company (Equitania) (plaintiff) hired Laurel Garrett (defendant) and her law firm, Slone & Garrett, P.S.C. (defendant), to represent Vimont in its attempt to gain control of Equitania. Vimont’s attempt to gain control of Equitania resulted in Vimont purchasing the shares of another shareholder group. Vimont sued Garrett and her law firm for legal malpractice, alleging that Garrett negligently advised Vimont during a shareholder dispute. Specifically, Vimont alleged that Garrett failed to properly advise Vimont as to how to retain control of Equitania, that the methods Garrett advised violated the insurance code, that Garrett violated a fiduciary duty to Vimont’s shareholders, that Garrett was unethical, and that Garrett was substantially more expensive. The trial court granted partial summary judgment for part of the claim in Garrett’s favor, and the rest of the claim was resolved in Garrett’s favor by a jury verdict. At the jury trial, Vimont had objected to jury instructions stating that an attorney could not be held responsible for errors in judgment or for advising a course of action that proved to be unsuccessful. Vimont appealed the jury verdict, and the court of appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling. The state supreme court granted discretionary review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wintersheimer, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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