When does a California estate planning attorney owe a duty of care to people other than the client? Planners can breathe easier after a recent appellate ruling. The court clarified the limits on legal malpractice claims brought by nonclients.
In Gordon v. Ervin, Cohen & Jessup LLP (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 543, the court explained that a client’s intent to benefit a nonclient must be clear, certain and undisputed in order for the lawyer to owe a duty to the nonclient. If the facts are ambiguous, the nonclient cannot sue the lawyer for malpractice.