Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Clients who sued their former attorney for settling a claim without actual authority are not precluded from pursuing the claim by collateral estoppel, according to a decision of the West Virginia Supreme Court. The court previously had enforced the settlement over the client's objection because the attorney was cloaked with apparent authority to settle
This Court did not expressly determine that [the attorney] had the actual authority to settle the case on behalf of his clients. Rather, we simply ruled that [the attorney's] clients had failed to overcome the apparent authority that is implicit in any attorney-client relationship. Thus, the first criterion of collateral estoppel, that "the issue previously decided is identical to the one in the current proceeding" has not been satisfied.