Rino v. Mead
In Rino v. Mead, 55 P. 3d 13, 13 (Wyo. 2002), the Court applied the principles set out in our earlier cases to reverse a summary judgment order entered in favor of an attorney on a legal malpractice claim.
The Court did so because the attorney's submittals in support of summary judgment, including an expert affidavit, "did not establish that there were no genuine issues of material fact, and, thus, the burden did not shift to the plaintiff to produce expert testimony."
The Court concluded the expert's affidavit did not counter many of the plaintiff's factual allegations against the attorney regarding the standard of care, including allegations that she "failed to hire accountant and attorney experts as promised, failed to prepare for the mediation session, failed to prepare for the trial, and failed to give correct advice as to the treatment of a retirement account in the property division." Id.
With these issues of material fact remaining, the Court concluded, the expert's opinion that the attorney acted in a reasonable, careful and prudent manner with respect to her representation of her client was simply premature.
The Court said:
"The first rule for the entry of summary judgment is that there must not remain any genuine issues as to any material facts. ... Indeed, that showing was not made in this case. It cannot be said, as a matter of law, that Mead's conduct did not violate the standard of care when what Mead may or may not have done remains controverted." Id.