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Law Offices of Jerris Leonard, P.C. v. Mideast Systems, Ltd.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
111 F.R.D. 359 (1986)


The United States Department of the Interior prevailed in a prior lawsuit with Mideast Systems, Ltd. and China Civil Construction (MS/CCC) (defendants), which were represented by the Law Offices of Jerris Leonard, P.C. (Leonard) (plaintiff). After MS/CCC failed to pay their legal fees, Leonard filed a fee action against them in federal district court. MS/CCC never appeared in the lawsuit, and default judgment was eventually entered against them. Almost a year later, MS/CCC filed a malpractice action against Leonard in a New York state court, based on settlement advice given by Leonard in the government litigation. Leonard responded by seeking a declaration in federal court that MS/CCC were barred from pursuing their malpractice claim, because it was a compulsory counterclaim that they had failed to raise in Leonard’s earlier fee action.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gasch, J.)

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