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Tamara Lucas and James Lucas v. Mat Stevenson

January 29, 2013

TAMARA LUCAS AND JAMES LUCAS, PLAINTIFFS AND APPELLANTS,
v.
MAT STEVENSON, DEFENDANT AND APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DV-11-1484 Honorable John W. Larson, Presiding Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Patricia O. Cotter

Submitted on Briefs: November 28, 2012

Decided: January 29, 2013

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Patricia O. Cotter delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶1 Tamara Lucas*fn1 (Tamara) appeals from an order of the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County, granting summary judgment to attorney Mat Stevenson (Stevenson) on a legal malpractice claim brought by Tamara and her husband, James Lucas (James). We affirm.

ISSUE

¶2 Tamara raised two issues on appeal. The first issue concerned whether the District Court should have allowed Tamara to supplement the record by introducing additional evidence in the form of CDs and photographs. We denied Tamara's motion to supplement the record in this Court's August 21, 2012 order. We restate the sole issue remaining on appeal as follows:

¶3 Whether the District Court erred in granting Stevenson's summary judgment motion.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶4 This case involves various allegations of legal malpractice. On October 28, 2004, Tamara was involved in a car accident in Flathead County. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. James went to see Tamara at the Kalispell Police Department booking area. According to police officers, James was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was highly confrontational. The police officers told James that he could visit his wife once she was booked and transported to the Flathead County Department of Corrections. James refused to leave and was arrested for obstructing a peace officer. James attempted to kick one of the police officers in the face while the officer searched him for weapons. He made contact with the officer's shoulder and chest and was subsequently taken to the ground by the officers. James alleged that the police officers slammed his head on the concrete floor, causing him permanent brain damage and injuries. James was charged with the additional offenses of disturbing the peace and felony assault on a peace officer.

¶5 The Lucases hired Stevenson to defend James against the criminal charges. Stevenson later agreed to represent the Lucases in a civil action against the police officers involved in the altercation and the City of Kalispell.

ΒΆ6 On June 23, 2005, the Lucases jointly filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Their bankruptcy case was subsequently converted to a Chapter 7 proceeding on March 15, 2006. Richard Samson (Samson) was appointed trustee for the bankruptcy estate. Penny Leatzow (Leatzow) represented the Lucases in their bankruptcy proceedings. The Lucases originally disclosed their civil lawsuit as an asset under Schedule B in the bankruptcy proceedings, but later amended the Schedule to remove the claim. The Lucases told Samson that they had discussed a possible civil action against the City of Kalispell with several ...


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