A local Kansas City family law attorney was sued for breach of fiduciary duty by an alleged former client. A Jackson County, Missouri jury returned a verdict of $3 Million dollars against the attorney and his law firm for the breach of duty.
The Plaintiff alleged that the attorney represented both her (biological mother) and the adoptive parents. The Plaintiff alleged that the attorney told her she could stop the adoption process at any time. Prior to the finalization of the adoption process, the Plaintiff (biological mother) wanted to stop the process, but the attorney advised her it was too late. The Plaintiff argued that when she raised her objection it was not too late. You can read more about this in the Kansas City Star.
This case represents the dilemmas that face an attorney when they try and represent two different parties with conflicting interests. It is always best for an attorney to make sure that different parties have separate counsel to avoid this conflict of interest situation. I believe the jury properly awarded the Plaintiff monetary damages in light of this inherent conflict. Hopefully, this case will prevent this attorney (and other like him) from engaging in this kind of activity.