Drollinger v. MallonAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff Keith Drollinger, a convicted felon, brought suit against the lawyers who represented him in his attempt to obtain post-conviction relief, but shortly before the matter was scheduled for trial, withdrew. Defendants Gordon Mallon, John Lamborn, Robert Raschio and their firm, Mallon Lamborn & Raschio, PC, moved to dismiss the malpractice action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. They argued that, under the Supreme Court’s decision in "Stevens v. Bispham," (316 Or 221)(1993)), the action was barred because plaintiff had not been exonerated of the underlying offenses. The circuit court agreed with Defendants, granted their motion, and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that "Stevens," a case addressing the statute of limitations in a malpractice action brought by a former criminal defendant against trial counsel in the underlying case, did not preclude this convicted Plaintiff from pursuing a malpractice action against post-conviction counsel. Because the circuit court treated actual exoneration as a prerequisite for bringing the action, the Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.