MB Industries, LLC v. CNA Insurance Co.
This case involved a legal malpractice claim brought by Plaintiff MB Industries, LLC (MBI) against attorneys Steven Durio and John Weinstein. The attorneys represented MBI in an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit against former MBI employees. Rather than appeal the unfavorable judgment, MBI chose to sue its former attorneys. The issues before the Supreme Court were: (1) whether a party's failure to appeal an underlying judgment waived any right to bring a legal malpractice claim based on that judgment; and (2) whether summary judgment was properly granted in light of MBI's failure to introduce expert testimony to establish the applicable standard of care which would have demonstrated the attorneys' actions fell below that standard. After careful review, the Court found that Louisiana law does not impose a "per se" rule requiring an appeal before a client can sue his former attorney. Furthermore, the Court found that a party alleging legal malpractice must introduce expert testimony to establish a standard of care "except in those rare cases involving malpractice so egregious that a lay jury could infer the defendant's actions fell below any reasonable standard." The Court found that under the particular facts of this case, there were no genuine issues of material fact, and that MBI failed to establish it could satisfy its evidentiary burden of proof at trial. The attorneys were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Court reversed the appellate court and reinstated the trial court's original judgment in favor of the attorneys.