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Perez v. Kirk & Carrigan

822 S.W.2d 261 (1991)

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Perez v. Kirk & Carrigan

Court of Appeals of Texas

822 S.W.2d 261 (1991)

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Facts

During the course of his employment as a truck driver for Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company (Valley Coca-Cola), Ruben Perez (plaintiff) failed to stop at an intersection and collided with a school bus, killing 21 children. Valley Coca-Cola retained Attorneys Dana Kirk and Steve Carrigan (defendants) of the law firm Kirk & Carrigan (defendant). Kirk and Carrigan met with Perez in the hospital and took a statement under oath. According to Perez, Kirk and Carrigan said that they represented him, as well as his employer, and assured him that their communications would be kept confidential. When the county district attorney brought criminal charges against Perez, Kirk and Carrigan arranged for Perez to be represented in the criminal proceedings by an attorney for Valley Coca-Cola’s insurance company. Later, allegedly under threat of subpoena, Kirk and Carrigan gave the district attorney a copy of the statement they had taken from Perez in the hospital. The statement contributed to evidence that led to Perez being indicted by a grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter. Perez filed suit against the law firm of Kirk & Carrigan, as well as the individual attorneys, seeking damages for emotional distress and mental anguish based on claims that included breach of fiduciary duty. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Perez appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dorsey, J.)

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