Modrall Sperling Wins on Directed Verdict

The client sought to collect a debt owed due to professional services rendered by defending a lien on land in which the debtor had a putative interest. In a bench trail, the trail court invalidated the lien, in part because the debtor had committed fraud in signing documents for another person. The client was then collaterally sued for malicious abuse of process on the theory that once the client learned the debtor had signed for another person it lost probable cause in the underlying case. We won the abuse of process claim on directed verdict on two grounds: first that facts were in dispute and there were competing legal theories – establishing probable cause. Second, that the client relied on the advice of its counsel in the underlying case, which is a complete defense.