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State v. Callahan

Kansas Supreme Court
652 P.2d 708 (1982)


Ruth Fulton, an elderly California resident, sold 320 acres of family land in Kansas to Lowell Lygrisse. John Callahan (defendant), a Kansas attorney handled the transaction for both parties. Callahan drafted the necessary documents in accordance with the terms provided by Lygrisse. Fulton was not consulted. The deal allowed Lygrisse to pay Fulton in three separate payments unsecured by a mortgage in favor of Fulton. Fulton signed the documents believing Callahan was representing her best interests. Thereafter, Callahan served as Lygrisse’s personal attorney. Lygrisse failed to pay Fulton the final payment. Believing she had a secured interest in the property, Fulton attempted on multiple occasions to initiate foreclosure proceedings through Callahan. Each time Callahan advised Fulton to give Lygrisse more time to pay the final payment. The following year, Fulton flew to Kansas to confront Callahan about filing foreclosure proceedings. At that time, Callahan informed Fulton that he could not represent her due to a conflict of interest in his representation of Lygrisse. Eventually, Callahan informed Fulton that she did not have a mortgage, but only a promissory note. Fulton hired another attorney who filed a malpractice suit against Callahan. Callahan filed for bankruptcy and was discharged. Fulton was never paid her final payment. The attorney filed a complaint against Callahan with the Kansas Bar. A Kansas Bar board of discipline panel found that Callahan violated several rules of professional conduct and placed him on indefinite suspension. Callahan appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam.)

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