Linegar v. DLA Piper LLP (Opinion)Annotate this Case
In 2004, Linegar, an Australian, formed KeyOvation, which eventually merged with Saflink and became IdentiPHI, in which Linegar was a major stockholder. DLA Piper law firm represented Saflink in the merger. Following the merger, DLA Piper represented IdentiPHI as corporate counsel. During the merger, IdentiPHI needed a short-term loan. Linegar then served as Chairman, Director, and majority shareholder of Zaychan, the corporate trustee of the Linegar Fund, an Australian self-managed retirement trust with Linegar and his ex-wife as the sole beneficiaries. Linegar arranged for the Fund to lend IdentiPHI $1.67million. DLA Piper represented IdentiPHI in the transaction and worked directly with Linegar. IdentiPHI executed a promissory note to Zaychan, which was accepted by Linegar as Chairman and Director, and which granted Zaychan a security interest in IdentiPHI’s assets. The note was payable by June 29, 2008. Timely payment was essential for the Fund's compliance with Australian law. When it became apparent that IdentiPHI was going to default, Linegar took several actions, but ultimately the debt was subject to challenge under 11 U.S.C. 547(b) because the security interest had not been perfected. KeyOvation, the holder of the assigned note, settled its claim for $150,000, which it paid to Linegar. Linegar, Zaychan, and KeyOvation sued DLA Piper for legal malpractice, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and deceptive trade practices. They claimed that the firm gave assurances that the lien would be perfected. Linegar’s individual claims resulted in an award of $1,293,606. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court of Texas reversed, holding that Linegar, as an individual, had standing.