When attorneys advise errant trustees, how vulnerable are they to breach of trust claims by injured beneficiaries? A case published last week by the California Court of Appeal provides a defensive roadmap to attorneys who are sued for such claims, along with an occasion for golf metaphors.
In Cortese v. Sherwood (2018) 26 Cal.App.5th 445, the appellate court ruled that attorney John Sherwood was protected by California Civil Code section 1714.10, which was enacted in 1988 to combat the use of frivolous conspiracy claims brought as a tactical ploy against attorneys and their clients. Since the plaintiff failed to obtain the court’s approval before suing the attorney, as the statute required, she could not bring her claim against him. She could not get off the first tee.