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Hamilton v. Silven, Schmeits & Vaughan, P.C.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 21, 2013

ALLEN HAMILTON and LOIS HAMILTON, Plaintiffs,
v.
SILVEN, SCHMEITS & VAUGHAN, P.C. and ALAN J. SCHMEITS, Defendants

For Allen Hamilton, Husband, Lois Hamilton, Wife, Plaintiffs: Marianne G. Dugan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney at Law, Eugene, OR.

For Silven, Schmeits and Vaughan P.C., an Oregon Professional Corporation, Alan J. Schmeits, Defendants: Bruno J. Jagelski, Carl Burnham, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEYS, Yturri Rose, LLP, Ontario, OR.

OPINION

Page 1260

OPINION AND ORDER

Michael H. Simon, United States District Judge.

Allen and Lois Hamilton (" the Hamiltons" or " Plaintiffs" ) filed an action alleging legal malpractice against Alan J. Schmeits, Esq. and the law firm Silven, Schmeits & Vaughan, P.C. (collectively, " Defendants" ). Plaintiffs' claim is based on Defendants' legal representation of Plaintiffs in an underlying property dispute lawsuit brought in Oregon state court against Plaintiffs by their then-neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Elms. In the underlying case, Plaintiffs filed counterclaims against Mr. and Mrs. Elms, and the state court entered judgment against the Hamiltons on all claims and counterclaims. The Hamiltons then filed this action, alleging breach of contract and legal malpractice in Oregon state court, which Defendants improperly removed to this Court.[1] The Court dismissed Plaintiffs' breach of contract claim on Defendants' motion for summary judgment without objection by Plaintiffs.

On September 17, 2013, a jury trial began on Plaintiffs' claim of legal malpractice. All parties were represented by counsel. After seven days of trial, an eight-person jury unanimously rendered

Page 1261

its verdict on September 25, 2013. In its verdict, the jury answered the question " Were Defendants negligent in one or more of the ways claimed by Plaintiffs?" by responding " Yes." The jury answered the next question " Was Defendants' negligence a cause of damages to Plaintiffs?" by responding " No." Dkt. 331 (Verdict).

DISCUSSION

On September 30, 2013, Plaintiffs, acting pro se ,[2] filed three motions: (1) Plaintiffs' Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict and Alternative Motion for New Trial (Dkt. 333); (2) Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney's Fees (Dkt. 335); and (3) Plaintiffs' Motion to Deny Attorney's Fees to Defendants (Dkt. 334). For the following reasons, all three motions are DENIED.

A. Plaintiffs' Two Motions Challenging the Jury's Verdict

Plaintiffs have moved for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, which the Court construes as a Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b). Dkt. 333. Plaintiffs also have moved, in the alternative, for a new ...


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