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Wolski v. Wandel

746 N.W.2d 143 (2008)

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Wolski v. Wandel

Nebraska Supreme Court

746 N.W.2d 143 (2008)

Facts

Stanley Wolski, Jr. (plaintiff) was mentally disabled. Wolski’s parents conveyed 119 acres of farmland to him by warranty deed. A few days later, another warranty deed transferred the same 119 acres from Wolski to his sister, Rosemary Parriott, as trustee. There were no other details regarding the trust. Wolski and Parriott had a longstanding dispute over the income from the property. Wolski hired Josephine Wandel (defendant) to file an action to break any trust that existed and obtain fee-simple title to the land. After filing the lawsuit, Wandel filed a petition to appoint a guardian ad litem for Wolski. The petition was granted and Thomas Harmon was appointed. Harmon consulted with Wandel and conducted an investigation into the case. Wolski then agreed to settle the case, getting a life estate in the property with the remainder interest going to Parriott and her heirs. Afterward, Wolski hired a new attorney and attempted to set aside the settlement. Wolski also sued Wandel for legal malpractice. Wolski hired an expert, Ronald E. Reagan, who was a practicing attorney and retired judge, to provide an opinion on Wandel’s representation. Reagan testified by deposition that Wandel should have provided additional information to Harmon and that Harmon would not have recommended settling if Harmon had reviewed the additional information. Reagan also testified that the case should have been tried and Wolski would have won at trial. Reagan did not express an opinion on whether Wandel breached the applicable standard of care. Harmon also testified by deposition and stated that he had reviewed all of the case documentation. Harmon testified that none of the documents referenced by Reagan would have changed his opinion. Wandel also testified. Neither Wandel nor Harmon testified that Wandel breached the applicable standard of care. Wandel moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion. Wolski appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stephan, J.)

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