Letourneau v. Hickey
Vermont Supreme Court
807 A.2d 437 (2002)
Laurent and Alicia Letourneau (plaintiffs) and Michael and Susan Judd (defendants) owned neighboring properties. After the Letourneaus tapped maple trees on a swath of land whose ownership was disputed, the Judds filed suit in 1998 for a declaration of the property line. The Letourneaus were represented by Charles Hickey (defendant). The court ultimately ruled that the disputed property belonged to the Judds but that the Letourneaus had established a prescriptive right to continue harvesting sap from trees. The Letourneaus did not appeal. After the Letourneaus failed to pay their attorney, Hickey brought a collection action against them. The Letourneaus attempted to evade service and never filed a responsive pleading. Hickey received a default judgment in October 1999. In February 2001, the Letourneaus sued Hickey and the Judds, alleging that Hickey was liable for malpractice and that Michael Judd had slandered them at trial with testimony that their syrup tasted like tires. The Letourneaus also sought relief from the judgment in the Judds’ favor. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which the court granted. The court held that the Letourneaus had waived their malpractice claim against Hickey by failing to assert it as a compulsory counterclaim in the collection suit. As for the Judds, the court concluded that the alleged slander was privileged and that the Letourneaus had failed to prove actual harm. The court dismissed the Letourneaus’ motion for relief from the judgment without a hearing or the issuance of findings. The Letourneaus appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 171,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.