Foondle v. O'BrienAnnotate this Case
Appellant William Foondle appeals the superior court’s dismissal of his claims for legal malpractice against the public defenders who represented him in a criminal case. A grand jury indicted William Foondle for felony driving under the influence (DUI) in 2007. The DUI charge was a felony because Foondle had been convicted of DUI twice in the preceding ten years: once earlier in 2007 and once in North Dakota in 1999. Assistant public defenders Angela O’Brien and Daniel Lord were assigned to defend Foondle. In dismissing Foondle’s malpractice claims, the superior court relied on the public policy principle that precluded criminally convicted plaintiffs from civil recovery based on the alleged negligence of their former defense counsel. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the superior court’s legal analysis was correct, and affirmed the judgment on that basis. Furthermore, the Court rejected, as unsupported, Foondle’s argument that the dismissal violated his rights to due process and access to the courts.