Laine Wagenseller recently argued before the California Court of Appeals on behalf of an Orange County law firm which had been sued for legal malpractice. Through aggressive representation, Mr. Wagenseller was successful in getting plaintiff’s case dismissed prior to trial along with an award for $156,000 in attorneys fees. The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision but, in a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal and awarded costs to the law firm.
Using California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1030, the law firm asked that plaintiff, who lived in Oregon, be ordered to post a bond of $117,000 in order to continue prosecuting her case. After two hearings, that motion was granted and the court ordered plaintiff to post the bond. Plaintiff failed to post the bond and Mr. Wagenseller moved ex parte for mandatory dismissal. Mr. Wagenseller’s application was granted and the case was dismissed.
In a separate motion, Mr. Wagenseller had also obtained discovery sanctions against plaintiff, precluding her from introducing any medical evidence or testimony at the time of trial. The Court of Appeal noted that this sanction “dealt a functional death-blow to her case…” and “virtually assure[d] [the law firm] would prevail at trial.”
The Court of Appeals dismissed plaintiff’s claims that the law firm defendant had not demonstrated a ‘reasonable possibility’ of prevailing at trial. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision and affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s case against Mr. Wagenseller’s clients.