Lynch v. Hamrick
Supreme Court of Alabama
968 So. 2d 11 (2007)
Juanita Lynch (plaintiff) asked her daughter Rebecca Hamrick (defendant) to take her to an attorney to revise Lynch’s will and convey a 40-acre tract of land to Hamrick. Hamrick selected Julie Wills, an attorney who specialized in elder law. Hamrick and Lynch met with Wills in person at Wills’s office. During the meeting, Hamrick gave Wills a document showing that Lynch had divided her estate evenly between her children. After the initial meeting, Wills called Lynch to speak with her alone. Wills was satisfied that the will and deed were in accordance with Lynch’s wishes and prepared the documents. Afterward, Lynch executed the deed. A few days later, Lynch’s son Buddy learned that Lynch had conveyed the tract of land to Hamrick. Buddy, acting as Lynch’s attorney-in-fact, sued to set aside the deed, alleging that Hamrick tricked Lynch into signing the deed. Lynch intervened in the action on her own behalf. Lynch asked the court to set aside the deed, because she signed it based on Hamrick’s representations that she would take care of Lynch. Hamrick gave notice that she planned to depose Wills. Lynch moved to quash the deposition based on the attorney-client privilege. The trial court found that the events around the preparation and execution of the deed were not covered by the attorney-client privilege. Wills testified at trial, and the trial court ultimately declined to set aside the deed, finding that Lynch failed to show that part of the consideration for the conveyance was Hamrick’s promise of support. Lynch appealed, arguing that the trial court should not have admitted Wills’s testimony, because Lynch’s conversation with Wills was covered by the attorney-client privilege.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (See, J.)
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