200 West Douglas, Suite 1010, O.W. Garvey Building, Wichita, Kansas 67202

Professional Liability

For many years we have defended attorneys who have been sued for legal malpractice. We represent the largest professional liability insurer of attorneys in the State of Kansas. We have also litigated cases involving the professional liability of architects and engineers in construction cases. We have found that these cases often involve complex issues with a lot at stake, namely, the professional reputation of the defendant that often has been developed over many years in a given community.

Our Philosophy: There is no substitute for early and thorough investigation of these claims. We attempt to ascertain whether professional liability exists as quickly as possible. If liability exists, we attempt to settle the case on a reasonable basis. If in our judgment there has not been any professional liability committed, then we prepare the case for trial. Throughout the process, we are sensitive to the desires of our client.

Case law development: There is on-going development in the case law to define under what circumstances a non-client may sue an attorney. One of our members was involved in one of the leading cases in Kansas on this subject. In Bank IV Wichita v Arn, Mullins, Unruh, Kuhn & Wilson, 250 Kan. 490, 827 P. 2d 758 (1992), a creditor attempted to state a legal malpractice claim under a variety of theories against our client who represented the debtor. The Kansas Supreme Court held that: (1) a legal malpractice claim, whether based on contract or on negligence, is personal to the client and cannot be assigned or acquired by a third party; and (2) for a non-client lender to recover, the lender must show that the attorney directly advised the lender or that the attorney intended or expected the lender to rely on the attorney for legal services concerning the matter at issue. Judgment was entered in favor of our client on the basis that no legal duty was owed by the attorney to the lender under the facts.

Architect and Engineer Professional Liability: We have represented architects and engineers who have been sued in construction defect cases.

Attorneys who practice in this area: Steven D. Gough and Alan R. Pfaff