Paxman v. KingAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court declining to grant Defendant's motion for summary judgment in this legal malpractice action, holding that Thomas v. Hillyard, __ P.3d __ (Utah 2019), squarely addressed the issues presented in this case.
On advice from Defendant, Plaintiff, an optometrist, pled guilty to charges arising out of Plaintiff's Medicaid billing for his services. Plaintiff later sued Defendant for legal malpractice, alleging that Defendant failed to inform him of the consequences of pleading guilty or to advise him of the likelihood of success at trial. Defendant moved for summary judgment asking the district court to conclude that Plaintiff's claims failed as a matter of law under two rules embraced in other jurisdictions - the exoneration rule and the actual innocence requirement. The district court declined to adopt either rule. Around the time the Supreme Court heard Plaintiff's appeal, the Court decided Thomas, holding that neither the exoneration rule nor the actual innocence requirement have a place in malpractice law. Thus, based on Thomas, the Court affirmed in this case.