Superior Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk, Business Litigation Session
David VALCHUIS, et al.
SAUL EWING, LLP, et al.
Date: April 26, 2018
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTâS MOTIONS TO
DISMISS OR FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
Kenneth W. Salinger, Justice Superior Court
Plaintiffs assert claims for legal malpractice against two
different sets of defendants. They allege that their prior
lawyers were negligent in failing to discover that a 1998
deed was defective because the individuals purporting to
convey the property no longer held legal title.
Saul Ewing Defendants (Saul Ewing, LLP, and Peter S. Brooks)
have moved to dismiss this action under Mass.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). The Lourie & Cutler Defendants (Lourie & Cutler,
PC, Jean M. Kolling, and Leslie Crane Slavin) have filed an
answer, but now move for judgment on the pleadings under rule
Court concludes that Defendants are not entitled to
dismissal of this action on the grounds that Plaintiffsâ
claims are time barred, or that Plaintiffsâ alleged harms
were caused by unforeseeable and superseding events that cut
off any liability of Defendants, or that Plaintiffs have
failed to allege that they suffered any compensable injury as
a result of Defendantsâ alleged negligence. The Court will
therefore DENY the motion to dismiss and the motion for
judgment on the pleadings.
allege the following facts in their first amended complaint.
Alleged Malpractice by Lourie & Cutler Defendants
Valchuises retained the Lourie & Cutler Defendants in 1998 to
help convey certain commercial property in Watertown,
Massachusetts, into a nominee trust. These defendants
prepared a deed that purported to transfer this Property from
David Valchuis and Michael Valchuis (now known as Michael
Vale) to the Clarendon Street Nominee Trust (the
"Nominee Trust"). Mr. Valchuis and Mr. Vale both
executed the deed.
assumed that this deed was effective, and that from then on
CSNT owned the Property.
fact, however, the deed was not effective because at the time
it was recorded Mr. Valchuis and Mr. Vale were not the record
title holders of the Property. The actual owner was the
Clarendon Street Realty Trust.
allege that the Lourie & Cutler Defendants were negligent in
failing to conduct a title search, which would have revealed
that Mr. Valchuis and Mr. Vale did not own and therefore
could not convey the Property. One can reasonably infer-and
therefore under rule 12(b)(6) and rule 12(c) the Court must
infer-that Plaintiffs did not know that they no longer held
title to the Property. If they were already aware of that
fact then the allegation in the complaint that a proper title
search "would have revealed" that Valchuis and Vale
"were not the lawful record title owners of the
property" would make no sense.
Alleged Malpractice by Saul Ewing Defendants
Valchuises retained the Saul Ewing Defendants in 2013 to help
them partition ownership of the Property. These defendants
prepared and filed a petition for partition that referenced
the deed ...