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Olfe v. Gordon

Supreme Court of Wisconsin
286 N.W.2d 573 (1980)


Facts

Olfe (plaintiff) retained attorney Gordon (defendant) to negotiate the sale of certain real estate. Olfe instructed Gordon that she was willing to accept a first mortgage as consideration but would not accept a subordinate mortgage. Contrary to Olfe’s instructions, Gordon negotiated a sales contract that included a second mortgage and misrepresented the terms of the contract, such that Olfe believed she had acquired a first mortgage interest. When the purchaser ultimately defaulted on the contract, the true holder of the first mortgage foreclosed on the property, and Olfe lost more than $25,000. Olfe sued Gordon for legal malpractice, but the trial court dismissed her claims on grounds of insufficient evidence, including the lack of expert testimony as to the standard of care that Gordon should have exercised under the circumstances. Olfe appealed, and the case proceeded to review by the state supreme court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Callow, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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