Friday, November 19, 2010
The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment to a law firm defendant because the plaintiff had already achieved a full recovery in a claim against a departed firm partner. The court lays out the facts:
Elyousef, a client of the O’Reilly firm, entered into a business transaction with his attorney, C. Dean Homayouni, who was employed by O’Reilly during the early stages of the transaction. The transaction resulted in Homayouni obtaining Elyousef’s interest in Nevada Oil and Land Development, LLC (NOLD), which in turn owns a gas station in Las Vegas. Homayouni left O’Reilly because the law firm opposed the transaction due to a conflict of interest between Homayouni and the firm’s client, Elyousef.
When the business relationship soured, Homayouni sued Elyousef. Elyousef filed a counterclaim against Homayouni, alleging that Homayouni negligently caused him to lose his interest in NOLD. The district court awarded Elyousef $150,000 in damages plus $225,631.22 in costs and fees. Homayouni subsequently settled with Elyousef for $50,000 plus the return of his interest in NOLD. Elyousef then sued O’Reilly for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and legal malpractice, negligent supervision, respondeat superior, breach of contract, and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The district court granted summary judgment in O’Reilly’s favor, concluding that the doctrines of double recovery and issue preclusion barred Elyousef’s ability to recover from O’Reilly. On appeal, Elyousef maintains that neither doctrine bars him from further recovery.