Hizey v. Carpenter
Washington Supreme Court
830 P.2d 646 (1992)
Attorney Timothy Carpenter (defendant) prepared a joint-venture agreement to facilitate a sale of property from Gordon and Jessie Hizey, Baryldean Carlson, Guy and Doris Fenimore, and Jeri Pickering (collectively, the Hizeys) (plaintiffs) to a group that included James and May Finnegan (the Finnegans). Subsequently, Carpenter converted the joint venture into a limited partnership, making the Hizeys investors rather than creditors. When Carpenter drafted an agreement that would have further subordinated the Hizeys’ interest, Carpenter advised the Hizeys to seek independent counsel. The Finnegans went bankrupt. As investors, the Hizeys could not recover monies they were owed. The Hizeys sued Carpenter for malpractice, claiming they were unaware Carpenter represented both the Hizeys and the Finnegans in drafting documents. The jury found for Carpenter. On appeal, the Hizeys argued that the court erroneously excluded references to the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) and Carpenter’s conduct should have been evaluated under a higher standard of care because Carpenter held himself out as a real estate law specialist. The court of appeals certified the former issue to the Washington Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Dolliver, J.)
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