Daily Record Staff//March 26, 2018
//March 26, 2018
Torts — Legal malpractice — Attorney-client relationship
In 1995, Edwin and Rebecca Glesner, appellants, sold a parcel of land to USA Cartage Leasing, LLC (“Cartage”). The Glesners’ purchaser engaged in extensive litigation with Todd A. Baer, the owner of adjoining property, relative to an easement that had been granted by the Glesners. See USA Cartage Leasing, LLC v. Baer, 202 Md. App. 138 (2011), aff’d, 429 Md. 199 (2012). After the neighboring property owner prevailed, Cartage sued the Glesners for breach of the special warranty in the deed to Cartage, and succeeded in obtaining a judgment against the Glesners in the amount of $136,715.66, representing the attorney’s fees Cartage had expended in the title dispute with the owner of the adjoining property. The Glesners then filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Washington County against Miles & Stockbridge, P.C., appellee, the law firm that had represented Cartage’s lender at closing in 1995. Miles & Stockbridge had prepared the special warranty deed transferring title from the Glesners to Cartage. The Glesners alleged in their complaint that they had “engaged [Miles & Stockbridge] to prepare a deed for the purpose of conveying certain real property” to Cartage. They asserted that the law firm was negligent in failing to properly reference the easement in the deed, and “was otherwise negligent in representing the Plaintiffs.” Neither the Glesners nor Miles & Stockbridge requested a jury trial. At the trial, at the close of the Glesners’ case, the court granted a motion for judgment in favor of Miles & Stockbridge based upon the court’s finding that there was no attorney-client relationship between the Glesners and Miles & Stockbridge. The trial court also ruled, in the alternative, that the Glesners’ claim was barred by the statute of limitations. This appeal followed.
The Glesners presented five questions in their brief, but we need only address one issue: Was the trial court’s finding that the Glesners had not proved they had an attorney-client relationship with Miles & Stockbridge clearly erroneous?