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Peeler v. Hughes & Luce

Supreme Court of Texas
909 S.W.2d 494 (1995)


In her capacity as an officer for two investment firms, Peeler (plaintiff) came under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service in relation to allegations of tax fraud on behalf of investors. Peeler hired attorney Darrell Jordan (defendants) of the law firm of Hughes & Luce, L.L.P. (Hughes & Luce) (defendant) to represent her over the course of the criminal investigation. In deposition, Peeler admitted to a number of the factual allegations supporting the charges against her, and a grand jury ultimately indicted Peeler on 21 counts. Peeler accepted a plea agreement offered by the United States Attorney in which she pled guilty to a single count in exchange for a lenient sentencing recommendation and dismissal of the remaining charges. Three days after being sentenced to five years’ probation, plus a fine and restitution, Peeler learned that the prosecution had previously extended an offer of transactional immunity to her attorney. Under the offer of immunity, the United States Attorney would have dropped its prosecution efforts in exchange for Peeler’s cooperation as a witness. Peeler filed malpractice claims against Hughes & Luce, alleging that attorney Jordan had never communicated the offer of transactional immunity. Jordan claimed that he was never contacted with an offer of immunity. The state court of appeals ruled against Peeler, and Peeler petitioned the state supreme court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Enoch, J.)

Concurrence (Hightower, J.)

Dissent (Phillips, C.J.)

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