Oikonomos v. Bahrenberg
Justice Emily Pines
Plaintiffs for-profit corporate entities owned by the Brayson plaintiffs sued defendants, non-profit entities, including attorney Bahrenberg, alleging legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. Braysons claimed Bahrenberg, their friend and attorney for two decades, committed legal malpractice when he allegedly conspired with defendants to amend and/or breach the various leases, promissory notes and guarantees the parties entered into over numerous years. They argued Bahrenberg consistently took positions adverse to each of his former clients, advising various entities to violate the terms of their contracts to the detriment of the Braysons. The court found there were "so many disputed issues of fact" regarding the malpractice claim against Bahrenberg, requiring a trial. Further, it stated it was convinced the allegations of breach of fiduciary duty against Bahrenberg were subsumed under the claims for malpractice as they all arose from the same set of alleged facts and actions, and were not a basis for a separate cause of action. The court also stated sufficient issues of fact were raised on the contract claims, requiring a trial, and precluding summary judgment.