A woman, who was born in the USA, began living with a man in 1998. Without the benefit of a marriage license, in 2000, they participated in a traditional Hmong marriage ceremony. They signed numerous documents, filed tax returns indicating they were married and had two children. In 2009, the woman filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. Counsel informed her she had a 50/50 chance of prevailing on the theory she was a putative spouse. Before trial, the man offered her $605,000 to dismiss her action and resolve all their disputes, and counsel advised her, due to the significant risks involved, she should accept it. She declined to settle, holding out for $750,000 which the man refused to pay. The family law judge dismissed the action on the ground she was not a putative spouse. The woman then sued her lawyer for legal malpractice. The superior court granted the lawyer’s motion for summary judgment. In affirming the grant of summary judgment, the appellate court noted the woman chose to ignore good advice and said: “In sum, appellant has failed to show the existence of a triable issue of material fact as to causation.” (Moua v. Pittullo, Howington, Barker, Abernathy, LLP (Cal. App. Second Dist., Div. 2; July 22, 2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 107, [174 Cal.Rptr.3d 662].)
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.