Nov 29, 2006
Law firm must indemnify its former attorney for attorneys’ fees incurred in defending malpractice action

Cassady v. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 220 (California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Three (Los Angeles)) [published]. Marc Poster secured this published victory for GMSR’s client, attorney Ralph Cassady. Cassady once worked for Morgan Lewis, and after he left the firm, both he and Morgan Lewis were sued for malpractice by a long-time client of Cassady. Morgan Lewis defended itself but refused to defend or indemnify Cassady. After the malpractice suit was over, Cassady sought indemnity from Morgan Lewis under Labor Code section 2802 for his attorney fees incurred in defending the malpractice suit. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Morgan Lewis on the purported ground that Cassady couldn’t prove what portion of his attorney fees were attributable to events occurring during his time of employment at Morgan Lewis. But then, on Cassady’s motion for new trial, the court changed its mind and denied summary judgment. Morgan Lewis appealed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the order granting new trial in a published opinion.