Law firms ask court to dismiss claims in case brought by injured former D.C. United player

By John Sammon | Jul 3, 2017

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – Attorneys for the Denver law firm of Fleishman & Shapiro PC and the Washington, D.C., law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel PC are asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to drop two claims against them in legal malpractice lawsuit brought by a former professional soccer player who suffered a head concussion injury in September 2009 that ended his career.

Bryan Namoff was formerly a soccer player for D.C. United, a professional Major League Soccer team. He suffered a head injury after colliding with another player in a game against the Kansas City Wizards.

In 2012, Namoff filed a $12 million lawsuit against his former team accusing it of negligence in that outside doctors for the team had not properly treated his concussion. As a result the allegations stated, Namoff has been unable to find meaningful long-term employment and is facing a lifetime of medical costs for his condition, court documents state.

In 2014, the court dismissed the claims against the D.C. United and its employees holding that they were immune from the lawsuit under regulations of the Workers' Compensation Act. After that decision, Namoff alleged that a positive settlement of the case had been prevented by the negligence of his lawyers.

Namoff alleged that his lawyers had failed to properly advise him during the suit, had failed to produce hundreds of documents he had provided for them that would have a bearing on the litigation, and also failed to produce emails he had made available that would impact the outcome.

The allegation also said the attorneys had dishonestly coerced Namoff to sign an agreement to dismiss the case based on the misrepresentation that he faced $700,000 in legal fees and possible criminal penalties.

“All these assertions were materially false,” Namoff contended in the complaint.

Namoff acquired the services of a new law firm Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and sought $126,000 in damages, money he paid to the defendants Shaprio & Cammarata, as well as punitive damages.

The defendants contended that since a majority of the claim occurred in the state of Colorado where Fleishman & Shaprio has its office (Denver), an allegation of “negligent breach of contract” can’t be decided because law in the state of Colorado does not recognize such claims. 

The defendants also contended that nowhere in their contractual agreement with Namoff did they promise to perform a specific act or obtain a particular result. Thus they maintained, Namoff based his breach of contract complaint on his attorneys’ assignment to perform legal services on his behalf with “reasonable care,” and to “faithfully and loyally” undertake his representation, which they faithfully accomplished.

The defendants also countered that Namoff had failed to state a claim of fraud in his complaint.

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