|By Hilda Munoz, The Hartford Courant|
The judge also found Mulligan liable for civil theft and "conversion," a form of theft. The amount that Shapiro awarded
"These are terrible cases, when an attorney breaks a client's trust, and it's very hard for all involved. It's very difficult for the lawyers prosecuting a case because it gives the profession a bad name," said
Mulligan's attorney did not return a call seeking comment.
Mulligan had been close friends with
He misled them after an easement issue came up between the Jalberts' property and their next door neighbor's in 2005, the ruling says.
The neighbor sued the Jalberts, seeking access to part of their property, and Mulligan agreed to represent his friends in court if their title insurance did not provide them with an attorney. In exchange for Mulligan's legal services,
Mulligan agreed. But under the "barter agreement" Mulligan also agreed to pay
The title insurance company did hire an attorney, who defended the Jalberts in the case and eventually reached a settlement. But Mulligan told his friends that the company had refused to provide an attorney and he pretended to represent them in the case, the judge's decision says.
Mulligan did not return the money, he never paid Jalbert for the renovations he completed, and when the case was settled for
Even if Mulligan had represented the Jalberts in the case, Shapiro ruled that his fees were unreasonable. Mulligan claimed that he had invested
"My clients are very grateful for the court's decision. We believe it was a very thoughtful and detailed decision," said the Jalberts' attorney,
(c)2013 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|