Hand v. Howell, Sarto & HowellAnnotate this Case
Tommy Hand sued the Prattville law firm of Howell, Sarto & Howell and William P. Roberts II, an attorney formerly employed by the Howell firm, asserting a claim under the Alabama Legal Services Liability Act based on their alleged negligent representation of him in an action seeking damages for personal injuries he suffered as a result of an automobile accident. The trial court entered a summary judgment in favor of the Howell firm and Roberts; Hand appealed. On appeal, Hand argued that Roberts and the Howell firm committed legal malpractice when they failed to name the Montgomery Advertiser, which Hand labeled "the critical deep-pocket defendant" as a party in Hand's personal injury action. Hand argues that the failure devalued his case to the extent that he had to settle for approximately half of what the case was worth and for an amount significantly less than his actual economic damage, not to mention his pain and suffering. Because there was no evidence indicating, only speculation, that Hand would have been able to settle his injury claim for a higher amount if Roberts and the Howell firm had also named the Montgomery Advertiser as a defendant, the Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Roberts and the firm.