Long-Russell v. Hampe
Wyoming Supreme Court
39 P.3d 1015 (2002)
Sharon Long-Russell (plaintiff) and her husband Gary Long rented a home from Long’s parents. After Long-Russell and Long divorced, Long obtained title to the home. Long-Russell lived in the house with her new husband, Richard Russell, and their children until Long evicted her. Long-Russell and Russell divorced, and Long-Russell lost custody of their children. Long-Russell hired attorney Robert Hampe (defendant) to get the eviction overturned and regain custody. Long-Russell sued Hampe for malpractice, alleging that he accepted fees without doing meaningful work, gave bad advice, pursued impossible claims, and made irresponsible promises. Long-Russell sought damages for emotional distress resulting from the eviction and loss of custody. Two issues were certified to the Wyoming Supreme Court: whether emotional-suffering damages are available in a legal-malpractice case alleging that an attorney negligently (1) failed to properly assert property claims in a divorce or gave bad advice resulting in a client’s eviction, or (2) gave incorrect legal advice about a child-visitation order.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hill, J.)
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