Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell lawyers have extensive experience working with lawyers, doctors, finance and investment professionals, directors, officers, architects, and engineers to protect the reputations and assets of their practices and organizations in the face of malpractice and liability claims. We routinely defeat high-profile and high-stakes negligence and malpractice lawsuits, and our teams have proven records of averting or minimizing negative impacts.
WTO lawyers have represented professionals and professional service firms in claims involving:
- Legal malpractice
- Medical malpractice
- Fiduciary liability
- Professional liability
- Director and officer liability
- Broker or dealer disputes
- Class actions
- Employment matters
- Breach of contract
- Corporate governance
- Corporate takeovers
- Derivative actions
- Franchise litigation
- Internal investigations
- Proxy rules
- Trademarks and Internet domain names
Please see our professional liability practice description for additional details.
- Obtained summary judgment for a national legal malpractice carrier in an attorney-lien enforcement action in Wyoming district court. In this matter of first impression, the Court held that the plain language of the statute precluded the plaintiff law firm's attorney-lien and constructive fraud claims. As the prevailing party under the statute, WTO obtained a significant award of attorneys' fees and costs for its client.
- Won an arbitration award for a lawyer and law firm against malpractice claims related to a 2014 real estate deal. Claimants asserted damages of $3 million plus interest. The arbiter ruled for WTO's client and found that no malpractice occurred.
- Won a complete defense verdict for a lawyer and law firm accused of malpractice in the handling of a sale of interests in the plaintiff's company.
- Won an arbitration for a law firm client that sued its former client for unpaid fees and was countersued for malpractice. The arbitrator rejected the malpractice claims and awarded WTO's client its unpaid fees plus interest, as well as its legal fees and costs incurred in the arbitration.
- Obtained Rule 12 dismissal for a Midwest-based, AmLaw 200 firm facing claims exceeding $500 million in state court in Kentucky.
- Won Tenth Circuit victory for a law firm client in protracted litigation arising out of a divorce and bankruptcy characterized as "the most complex [the divorce court] has seen in 25 years." The plaintiff-husband sued WTO's client, which handled the bankruptcy proceedings for the plaintiff's ex-wife, and the ex-wife's divorce counsel, in federal court. The Tenth Circuit's ruling in this matter follows a 2015 ruling for our client from the Tenth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.
- Won a complete defense jury verdict in a $12 million legal malpractice case. The jury found in favor of WTO's client on all claims and also awarded unpaid legal fees owed by plaintiffs.
- Won a complete defense jury verdict in federal court for a large international law firm accused of malpractice. The plaintiff hired WTO's client to handle a complex patent infringement matter, then sued the firm for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Won a complete defense verdict in federal court in Colorado for an emergency physician in a three-week medical malpractice trial in which the plaintiff alleged misdiagnosis leading to paralysis and asserted damage claims of $12 million.
- Won a complete defense verdict in state court in Minnesota in a case involving allegations that a doctor's spinal epidural injection resulted in paraplegia. Prior to trial, the plaintiffs rejected a $4 million offer of judgment. Following two weeks of testimony, the jury deliberated 11 hours over two days, returning with a unanimous defense verdict.
- Won a bench trial--including an award of attorneys' fees--for a national title insurance company in connection with a case involving the fraudulent sale of property.
- Won back-to-back Colorado Court of Appeals victories in June 2013 in legal malpractice cases involving claims of failure to disclose, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Obtained victory before the Colorado Court of Appeals for a bariatric surgeon. WTO lawyers tried and won the original case, which involved alleged complications following gastric bypass surgery. The Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff's assertions that the lower court erred in precluding certain expert testimony and affirmed the 2011 trial court verdict.
- Won a unanimous defense verdict for a labor and delivery nurse in a $17 million, three-and-a-half-week obstetrical malpractice trial in Colorado state court.
- Old Republic National Title Insurance v. Kornegay, 292 P.3d 1111 (Colo. 2012) - Defended an appeal seeking to overturn district court prejudgment writs of attachment and motion dismissing counterclaims in fraud/civil theft case.
- Won a defense decision for a Philadelphia psychiatric hospital in a two-day medical malpractice arbitration involving the death of a patient killed in an auto accident hours after being discharged.
- Won a bench verdict in state court in a legal malpractice matter. After the law firm brought a collection action against a former client, the former client countered with a multimillion-dollar damages demand, claiming breach of fiduciary duty. Following a one-week trial, the judge dismissed the former client's counterclaim and awarded WTO's client the full amount of fees owed plus interest.
- Defended an investment advisory firm in Cook County, IL against a $10 million professional negligence claim. After a two-week trial, the jury found for the defendant.
- Obtained a favorable outcome in a Florida medical malpractice trial involving the death of a 43-year-old man following out-patient hernia surgery. Brought in just a week before trial, the WTO team effectively argued for our client in court, leading the jury to assign primary liability to the patient's family and a non-party surgeon, not to WTO's client. The resulting jury award was less than what our client had offered during trial to settle the case.
- Won a defense verdict for a Florida hospital in a three-week medical malpractice trial. The case involved a baby who suffered cerebral palsy after a rare delivery complication. The plaintiff sued the hospital for $7 million, claiming complications could have been avoided had a C-section been performed. The WTO team successfully argued the complication was unpredictable and unpreventable, and the doctors actually saved the mother and child.
- Obtained a favorable settlement for a large excess insurance company in a medical malpractice case involving a permanent disability to a young child resulting from surgery conducted by a doctor who was not board certified.
- Won a jury defense verdict for a Colorado bariatric surgeon in Denver District Court.
- Represented a managing partner in a $5 million suit between law firm partners with respect to claims of fraud and mismanagement. After a two-week trial, WTO's client prevailed on fraud and mismanagement claims, and the Court ordered an accounting and liquidation of the firm.
- Won a defense verdict for a Washington D.C. hospital in a $40 million medical malpractice lawsuit that involved a baby born with severe brain damage.
- Obtained summary judgment in district court in a professional negligence claim against WTO's client, a construction consultant, in a matter related to criminal charges brought against the consultant's client, a utility company.
- Affirmed on appeal to the D.C. Court of Appeals WTO's unanimous defense jury verdict for a hospital after a three-week trial in Washington, D.C. The plaintiffs alleged the doctor provided less than the standard of care, resulting in an infant's cerebral palsy. WTO established the child's condition was attributable to his 14-week premature birth.
- Ford v. Eicher (Colo. Sup. Ct. 2011) - Secured a landmark victory from the Colorado Supreme Court for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a case involving the reliability of the intrauterine forces theory of labor as applied in shoulder dystocia matters.
- Represented a Chicago law firm in a legal malpractice case involving an underlying accounting malpractice case brought against a major accounting firm.
- Won a unanimous jury defense verdict for a cardiothoracic surgeon in a two-week medical malpractice trial involving injuries associated with an atrial fibrillation surgery.
- Obtained a Rule 12(b) dismissal of a complaint filed in federal court in Missouri against a large international law firm. The plaintiffs ultimately obtained an eight-figure jury verdict against the remaining defendants in the case.
- Won a jury defense verdict for an orthopedic spine surgeon in a medical malpractice case with millions of dollars in damage claims at stake, including eight years of accruing pretrial interest.
- Borders v. Aspen Equestrian Estate (Colo. 2010) - Successfully defended against a real estate company's claims that WTO's client's interference caused the loss of a $2 million investment when it prevented the sale of a shopping center before the real estate market crashed. WTO was retained in the last months before trial, and despite rulings made before WTO's engagement that the basis for interfering lacked merit as a matter of law, following trial, the court ruled for WTO's client on all issues of liability, causation, and damages.
- Represented a hospital in a four-week trial in California involving special damages in excess of $10 million in claims relating to the care of an adult male with brain damage. The jury returned a verdict of $6 million, but also found the plaintiff 75% contributory negligent. After the setoff from settling the defendant, WTO's client owed only $37,000.
- Obtained a Rule 12(b) dismissal of a malpractice case against five lawyers. The opposing party appealed the dismissal and, while the appeal was pending, the case settled with no payments being made by WTO's clients.
- Won a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in Florida involving permanent brain injury to a well-known plaintiff's lawyer. WTO was asked to take over the case two weeks into trial and after both local and regional defense counsel recommended settling the case for $12-15 million.
- Won a jury defense verdict in Denver District Court for a prominent Denver heart surgeon.
- Villalpando v. Denver Health, 181 P.3d 357 (Colo. App. 2007) - Won affirmation from the Colorado Court of Appeals for four doctors in a medical tort case involving wrongful death claims relating to medical treatment provided to the plaintiff's husband before his death.
- Obtained a defense verdict in a New Hampshire trial involving the death of a 63-year-old man following complications from gall bladder surgery. With just two weeks' notice, WTO demonstrated that an empty oxygen tank, which the decedent used for supplemental oxygen shortly before his cardiac arrest, did not cause his death. Ultimately, the jury agreed.
- Obtained partial summary judgment in federal court for a large national law firm that had been sued for malpractice, aiding and abetting, conspiracy, and violations of RICO. The ruling reduced the damage claim from over $150 million to less than $2 million and paved the way for a favorable settlement of the case.
- Moore v. Bertuzzi - Successfully defended the Vancouver Canucks NHL organization in a lawsuit brought by Colorado Avalanche player Steven Moore as a result of severe injuries he sustained during a hockey game. WTO obtained dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens, and also obtained a six-figure award of attorney's fees and costs in favor of the Canucks organization and against Mr. Moore.
- Awarded complete summary judgment in a legal malpractice case one week before a multi-week trial was scheduled to begin. The plaintiff had sought over $5 million in damages.