In an action for malpractice, plaintiff client appealed a judgment of nonsuit by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), in favor of defendant lawyers. The client argued that the trial court erred in granting the nonsuit because the lawyers were negligent and had breached their agreement with him to litigate a cause of action for false imprisonment.
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The client engaged the lawyers to institute an action against his neighbors whom he asserted had slandered him and caused him to be falsely arrested when they claimed he had attempted a sexual assault. During the preparation for trial and at trial, the client at all times told the lawyers to handle the matter as they deemed reasonable in their professional judgment. After a two-day trial, the client obtained judgment against his neighbors, but on only one count. The client received payment on the judgment but did not pay the lawyers. The client filed suit against the lawyers for malpractice. The trial court entered a judgment of nonsuit and the court affirmed. The court held that the lawyers did not abandon any cause of action. They made reasonable judgments as to the strength of the client’s case. They had no obligation to take an appeal because the client plainly stated he did not want to appeal. The attorneys were not negligent, and they did not breach any contract with the client. The client did not prove that he was entitled to win the cause of action against the neighbors for false imprisonment, so the grant of nonsuit was proper.
In an action for negligence and breach of contract brought by the client, the court affirmed the grant of a nonsuit to the attorneys.