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Tessier v. Rockefeller

New Hampshire Supreme Court
33 A.3d 1118 (2011)


Attorney Thomas Tessier handled some estate matters for Dr. Frederick Jakobiec. Jakobiec then hired a second attorney, Regina Rockefeller from the firm Nixon Peabody (defendants), who accused Tessier of misappropriating Jakobiec’s assets. On multiple occasions, Rockefeller met with Tessier and threatened him with disciplinary and criminal proceedings unless he immediately repaid the misappropriated assets. As a result, Tessier’s wife, Lorraine Tessier (plaintiff) claimed that she was forced “under duress” to sign a reverse mortgage and release her homestead interest in the family home as part of a settlement with Jakobiec. Over the next two years, Rockefeller and her firm purportedly “stripped” the Tessiers of all tangible jointly held assets. Despite the settlement agreement, Rockefeller also reported Tessier to his partner, the disciplinary office, and others without notice. Moreover, Jakobiec hired another attorney to sue Attorney Tessier and foreclose on the reverse mortgage. Lorraine Tessier brought suit alleging severe emotional and physical distress requiring hospitalization as a result. The trial court dismissed the fraudulent misrepresentation claim on the ground that Rockefeller and her firm did not owe a legal duty to Lorraine. Lorraine appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Conboy, J.)

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