CHRISTINA J. GREENFIELD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
IAN D. SMITH, Defendant-Respondent.
Opinion No. 59
from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Cynthia K.C. Meyer,
Christina J. Greenfield, Post Falls, appellant pro se argued.
Randall/Daskin, P.S., Spokane, Washington, for respondent.
Troy Y. Nelson argued.
a legal malpractice case that addresses the statute of
limitations applicable to professional malpractice claims,
how a statute of limitations is calculated when the last day
for filing a complaint falls on a Sunday, and whether expert
testimony is necessary to establish the prima facie elements
of legal malpractice. Greenfield appeals the district
court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of
the attorney. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
hired Smith in September 2010 to represent her in a civil
suit against her neighbors, Eric and Rosalynn Wurmlinger, for
the alleged illegal operation of a bed and breakfast in their
home. While the suit was pending, Greenfield was charged
criminally with malicious injury to the Wurmlingers'
property. Greenfield retained Smith to represent her in the
criminal matter as well.
represented Greenfield for approximately eighteen months.
During that time, Greenfield was acquitted of the criminal
charges. The civil case was scheduled to go to trial in May
2012. In February 2012, Smith filed a motion to withdraw from
representing Greenfield. Smith's basis for the motion was
that the attorney-client relationship had broken down to the
point where he was no longer able to represent Greenfield.
The district court granted the motion on March 8, 2012.
Smith's withdrawal, the district court rescheduled the
civil trial for November 26, 2012. Greenfield represented
herself at trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of
the neighbors on November 30, 2012. The jury awarded $52, 000
in damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress and
$17, 000 in damages for timber trespass which were then
trebled. The district court also awarded the neighbors'
attorney's fees and costs. The total judgment entered by
the district court was $168, 755.37. Greenfield appealed to
this Court, and we affirmed the judgment and awarded
additional attorney's fees and costs to the neighbors.
Greenfield v. Wurmlinger, 158 Idaho 591, 349 P.3d
December 1, 2014, Greenfield filed this malpractice case
against Smith, alleging, among other things, that he failed
to complete discovery, failed to file a motion for summary
judgment on the Wurmlingers' counterclaim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress, failed to amend the
complaint to include additional causes of action for abuse of
process, slander and libel, failed to file a timely motion
for protective order to safeguard the privacy of her medical
records, missed several important deadlines, and made no
attempt to get the criminal charges dismissed for lack of
evidence. Smith filed a motion for summary judgment on July
30, 2015, arguing that Greenfield's claims were time
barred and that she could not prove the prima facie elements
of legal malpractice because she failed to designate any
expert witnesses. Greenfield opposed the motion by filing a
responsive brief and her own affidavit setting forth the
allegations she claimed supported her malpractice claim.
Greenfield did not file any expert affidavits. Greenfield
argued that her complaint was timely and that no expert
witness was required to prove her case. The district court
granted Smith's motion. Greenfield appealed.
PRESENTED ON APPEAL
Whether the district court erred in determining that
Smith's claims for professional malpractice were
Whether the district court erred in granting Smith's
motion for summary judgment where Greenfield failed to submit
any expert affidavits concerning ...