Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP v. Lawrence, 111816 KYCA, 2016-CA-000102-MR

Docket Nº:2016-CA-000102-MR
Opinion Judge:CLAYTON, JUDGE:
Party Name:BINGHAM GREENEBAUM DOLL, LLP APPELLANT v. MEREDITH LAWRENCE APPELLEE
Attorney:BRIEF FOR APPELLANT Beverly R. Storm BRIEF FOR APPELLEE Meredith L. Lawrence, Pro Se
Judge Panel:BEFORE: CLAYTON, MAZE, AND STUMBO, JUDGES.
Case Date:November 18, 2016
Court:Court of Appeals of Kentucky
 
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BINGHAM GREENEBAUM DOLL, LLP APPELLANT

v.

MEREDITH LAWRENCE APPELLEE

No. 2016-CA-000102-MR

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

November 18, 2016

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

APPEAL FROM KENTON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE KATHLEEN LAPE, JUDGE ACTION NO. 13-CI-01620

BRIEF FOR APPELLANT Beverly R. Storm

BRIEF FOR APPELLEE Meredith L. Lawrence, Pro Se

BEFORE: CLAYTON, MAZE, AND STUMBO, JUDGES.

OPINION

CLAYTON, JUDGE:

Meredith Lawrence was suspended from the practice of law due to federal convictions in 2012 for tax-evasion crimes. To defend himself in that matter, Lawrence hired attorneys from the firm of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP ("BGD"). Multiple letters were executed by both Lawrence and BGD regarding fee agreements. Then, on June 21, 2012, the parties executed a Promissory Note that BGD had proposed, incorporating by reference all previously-due sums. The Note provided that Lawrence would pay a sum not to exceed $650, 000 to BGD for Lawrence's legal representation. The Note referenced the letters that had been exchanged by the parties. It also provided that, "All sums due under this Note, both principal and interest, if not sooner paid, shall be due and payable in full on December 31, 2013 . . . ."

Before the Note became due, however, Lawrence initiated a lawsuit against his criminal lawyers alleging legal malpractice. On September 20, 2013, BGD filed a Counterclaim alleging that Lawrence was indebted to BGD pursuant to the Note's terms. When Lawrence did not answer or otherwise respond to the Counterclaim, BGD filed for default judgment. On September 20, 2014, the trial court granted the default judgment motion.

More than a year later, Lawrence filed a motion pursuant to Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure (CR) 60.02 and 55.02 to have the default judgment set aside as void because the Note was not yet due when BGD filed the counterclaim. On January 6, 2016, the trial court granted the motion, agreeing with Lawrence that no justiciable claim existed when the counterclaim was filed because the Note was not yet due. Thus "the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and the default judgment is void." Order, p. 7...

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