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JOHN J. WALTON, JR. v. JAMES R. LOGAN, et al

Torts — Legal malpractice — Breach of standard of care

On June 29, 2015, appellant John J. Walton (“Walton”) filed a legal malpractice claim in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City against his former attorney, appellee James R. Logan (“Logan”) and his law firm, James R. Logan, P.A. (“Logan, P.A.”).1 Walton’s allegations stemmed from Logan’s filing of a bankruptcy petition on Walton’s behalf, after which adversary proceedings were brought against Walton for failing to disclose certain income and legal proceedings in his petition. After multiple motions hearings and pre-trial orders, the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Logan. The circuit court concluded, after Walton failed to timely designate an expert for his case in chief, that Walton could not prevail without expert testimony to establish the standard of care.

On appeal to this Court, we review the trial court’s rulings to address two key questions: (1) whether the circuit court abused its discretion in denying Walton’s motion to modify the scheduling order to permit his designation of an expert witness after the deadline; and (2) whether the circuit court erred in granting Logan’s motion for summary judgment based on Walton’s inability to establish, through expert testimony, that Logan breached the requisite standard of care.

Read the opinion here