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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Quilling Selander Proves Ex-Client Has No Case

DALLAS (CN) - Trailed-off discovery led a judge to dismiss legal malpractice against Quilling Selander related to the botched development of a 74-acre commercial property in Fort Worth.

In a July 2012 complaint, Lawrence Gentry and the Lawrence Michael Gentry Family LP claimed that the Dallas law firm and attorneys Michael Quilling and Clark Will failed to disclose their simultaneous representation of other interest holders in Silver Star Development LP, the developer of property at the intersection of Interstate 35W and Highway 1187 in southern Fort Worth.

Gentry claimed that the firm's other clients tried to remove him from his leadership role at Silver Star, improperly divest his interest in the company and improperly foreclose on the properties.

As a result, "the marketability of the Silver Star Properties were severely impaired or destroyed, any potential sales of the Silver Star Properties were lost, Silver Star had ended up in bankruptcy, and Larry Gentry has incurred significant legal fees," according to the complaint.

The lawyers allegedly failed to take action to prevent conflicts of interest.

"Defendants had a duty to refrain from actions that conflicted with their fiduciary duties to plaintiffs," the complaint stated. "Yet, defendants entered into activities that made such a breach of their duties inevitable and that gave rise to foreseeable conflicts of interest. Defendants placed themselves in a position where their self-interest and the interests of other clients conflicted with their obligations to plaintiffs."

Quilling Selander deemed the lawsuit frivolous in a Jan. 30 no-evidence motion for summary judgment. It said Will's representation of the plaintiff ended 13 years ago and that none of the defendants represented any of the plaintiffs since.

"Against that background and with virtually no explanation provided, plaintiffs have 'out of the blue' filed this frivolous suit against defendants, suggesting that defendants committed some unexplained legal malpractice and somehow breached fiduciary duties allegedly owed to the plaintiffs," the motion stated. "Completely baffled and by these unsupported allegations and baseless claims, defendants served upon plaintiffs a request for disclosure seeking, among other things, to force plaintiffs to explain the factual basis and specific nature of their allegations, to explain how plaintiffs were purportedly damaged by something defendants did or failed to do, and to explain how, and in what amount, plaintiffs claim to have been damaged by the defendants' conduct."

The plaintiffs have since refused to produce a single document in response to the law firm's requests for production, resulting in Moye finding the plaintiffs' "complete failure to respond to discovery was sanctionable," according to the motion.

Judge Eric Moye granted the firm summary judgment motion on Feb. 25.

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