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Gonsalves v. Superior Court

Court of Appeal of California, First District
24 Cal.Rptr.2d 52 (1993)


Attorney Linda Gonsalves (Gonsalves) executed a will for Dorothy Dvorak (Dvorak), which disinherited Dvorak’s closest relative, her niece, Dolores Picardo, and instead gifted her estate to a close friend. After Dvorak’s death, Picardo (plaintiff) filed suit against Gonsalves (defendant) for professional negligence, alleging that Dvorak lacked testamentary capacity to execute the will, that Gonsalves should have known that Dvorak lacked testamentary capacity, and that Gonsalves should have refused to execute Dvorak’s will. Gonsalves asserted that when she met with Dvorak to discuss the will, and again to execute the will, Dvorak was alert, coherent, and articulate. Gonsalves petitioned for summary judgment, arguing that she did not have reason to doubt Dvorak’s testamentary capacity, and that Gonsalves did not owe any duty to Picardo and therefore could not be liable for professional negligence. The lower court initially denied summary judgment, and Gonsalves petitioned the Court of Appeal for review. The lower court then issued an order granting summary judgment on behalf of Gonsalves.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Perley, J.)

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