SDM Secures Appellate Win Upholding Final Judgment on Behalf of Lynch, Chappell & Alsup, P.C.
SD&M attorneys Kim Bueno and Robyn Hargrove have won an appeal on behalf of the law firm of Lynch, Chappell & Alsup, P.C.
In the trial court, Lynch Chappell filed suit to recover a contingency fee that its former client owed the firm for its work on her behalf in an estate proceeding. The former client counterclaimed for breach of fiduciary, arguing that the fee was too high.
In the trial court, the former client refused to turn over her recordings of her conversations with her Lynch Chappell attorneys. SD&M obtained sanctions against the former client for her discovery abuse, ordering that she be prevented from admitting evidence of her communications with Lynch Chappell in the lawsuit. SD&M then won summary judgment, resulting in a final judgment that Lynch Chappell was entitled to its fee, and dismissing the fiduciary duty claims as meritless as a matter of law.
The El Paso Court of Appeals upheld the sanctions order and the final judgment, concluding that the trial court correctly determined that Lynch Chappell was entitled to its fee. The court also noted that Lynch Chappell had obtained a favorable result in the estate proceeding, and that it had voluntarily elected to take less than the full 25% it was entitled to receive under the contingent fee contract. In response to the former client’s claim that the 25% fee was too high, the court concluded: “We cannot undo a contract that was conscionable at its inception simply because a party later regrets making a deal.”