Colorado Supreme Court Opinions for Jan. 28
LeHouillier v. Gallegos
Della Gallegos fell ill with a brain tumor in 2009. She later came to find out that Dr. Steven Hughes failed to catch the tumor on an MRI scan three years earlier and considered to sue for medical malpractice. If the doctor had caught the tumor earlier, it could have been removed without invasive surgery that left her with a lifetime of negative side effects. Her attorney, Patric LeHouillier, decided to drop the suit because it would not have made sense financially. But, there was disagreement between Gallegos and LeHouillier.
Gallegos claimed he dropped her case but failed to inform her. He was unable to provide written documentation or proof he communicated this decision. At this point, the statute of limitations had passed and she was unable to pursue the case with another attorney.
Gallegos then decided to sue LeHouillier for legal malpractice. She claimed LeHouillier’s negligence stopped her from successfully suing Hughes. The trial court found that Hughes was guilty of medical malpractice and LeHouillier was guilty of legal malpractice. The Court of Appeals remanded for a new trial and said the attorney-defendant is responsible for proving that any underlying judgment would have not been collectible. The Supreme Court was asked to consider who bears the burden of proving that a judgment against Hughes would have been collectible.