Scher v. Sindel, No. 60937

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtSTEPHAN; PUDLOWSKI, P.J., and CRIST
Citation837 S.W.2d 350
PartiesGreg SCHER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Richard SINDEL, et al., Defendants-Respondents.
Decision Date18 August 1992
Docket NumberNo. 60937

Page 350

837 S.W.2d 350
Greg SCHER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Richard SINDEL, et al., Defendants-Respondents.
No. 60937.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Eastern District,
Division Three.
Aug. 18, 1992.

Page 351

Greg Scher, plaintiff-appellant acting pro se.

Richard Charles Wuestling, St. Louis, for defendants-respondents.

STEPHAN, Judge.

Greg Scher appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his pro se petition against respondents "Richard Sindel, Sindel and Sindel, P.C. and John and Jane Does # 1-10, et al." upon a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. We affirm.

On review of a trial court's order dismissing a petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the pleadings are given their broadest intendment, all facts alleged are treated as true, and all allegations are construed favorably to plaintiff. Stevenson v. City of St. Louis School District, 820 S.W.2d 609, 611 (Mo.App.1991). However, the conclusions of the pleader are not admitted. Id. The same standard applies to petitions filed by

Page 352

pro se litigants. Howard v. Pettus, 745 S.W.2d 821, 822 (Mo.App.1988).

In his pro se petition in a section captioned "STATEMENT OF THE CASE", appellant sets out about half a dozen paragraphs containing the following allegations of facts. Appellant is an inmate in a penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri. In January 1990, while incarcerated, appellant telephoned respondent Richard Sindel, an attorney, for the purpose of retaining Sindel in order to secure appellant's release from prison on house arrest. Respondent agreed and asked for $1,000.00 as a retainer to represent appellant.

Within three days of this conversation, Richard Sindel advised appellant that detainers had been lodged against appellant for two felony charges: one, in Florida for defrauding an innkeeper; the other, in St. Louis for tampering with evidence. Both detainers arose from circumstances surrounding the charges for which appellant had been imprisoned. Richard Sindel requested an additional $4,000.00 to resolve the detainers and secure appellant's house arrest. Richard Sindel received all payments for his retainer through Ms. Georganne Baker, appellant's then girlfriend who was acting as appellant's agent. Richard Sindel communicated with appellant directly only after first getting permission to do so from Baker. Appellant specifically alleged:

Richard Sindel entered into a conflict of interest by accepting a retainer to represent plaintiff and then by expending time and money against that retainer to represent the interests of Georganne Baker even when those interests were clearly diametrically opposed to the interests of the plaintiff and served to act to plaintiff's detriment.

Appellant further alleged that, although an associate had disposed of the St. Louis County detainer, neither Richard Sindel nor his law firm had resolved the Florida detainer or effected appellant's release on house arrest or transfer to a minimum security unit. Appellant subsequently demanded an itemized accounting of the retainer fee paid. Richard Sindel wrote appellant telling him that Sindel would discuss the matter only with Georganne Baker and that Sindel was not employed by appellant. Appellant threatened to sue for a refund of the retainer paid. Respondents allegedly gave appellant's confidential files to postal authorities in order to have appellant prosecuted for making threats through the mail. Unsuccessful with that, respondents also contacted the parole board concerning cancellation of appellant's "presumptive release date of May 27, 1991", and, finally, respondents contacted the attorney general's office to have appellant placed into indefinite punitive confinement for warning respondents that he would sue them for refund of his retainer.

During indefinite punitive confinement, appellant was denied medical treatment for a urinary problem. His bladder subsequently ruptured requiring that appellant wear a permanently installed catheter and drainage bag for the rest of his life. Appellant concludes his "STATEMENT OF THE CASE" with a paragraph alleging that respondent Richard Sindel voluntarily appeared at a hearing in federal court in the case of Scher v. Ashcroft on Friday, March 15, 1991, without informing appellant and that Sindel testified concerning his employment contract with appellant as well as personal communications between them in violation of their attorney-client relationship.

After this lengthy statement of the case, appellant's pro se petition follows with his "GROUNDS FOR RELIEF," where he sets out thirteen separate counts against respondents. Counts one through seven state that respondents were guilty of legal malpractice because they (1) failed to secure his release on house arrest or his transfer to a medium security institution or to resolve the detainers outstanding against appellant; (2) represented appellant's girlfriend despite a conflict of interest with their representation of appellant; (3) violated appellant's attorney-client privilege by disclosure of...

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3 practice notes
  • Baugher v. Gates Rubber Co., Inc., Nos. 61440
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • October 12, 1993
    ...the defendant attorney's conduct the plaintiff would have been successful in the prosecution of the underlying claim. Scher v. Sindel, 837 S.W.2d 350, 353 (Mo.App.1992). In both cases this is a stricter standard of causation than that recognized in California and would not furnish a basis f......
  • Eckel v. Eckel, WD 80113
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • February 27, 2018
    ...Network , 41 S.W.3d 462, 464 (Mo. banc 2001) ). "However, the conclusions of the pleader are not admitted." Scher v. Sindel , 837 S.W.2d 350, 351 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992). "No attempt is made to weigh any facts alleged as to whether they are credible or persuasive. Instead, the p......
  • Thompson by Thompson v. Gilmore, No. 19216
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 30, 1994
    ...of limitation ran on plaintiff's claim. Legal malpractice can be based either upon negligence or breach of contract. See Scher v. Sindel, 837 S.W.2d 350, 353 (Mo.App.1992); Boatright v. Shaw, 804 S.W.2d 795, 796 (Mo.App.1990). The one-count petition alleged an agreement with defendants by w......
3 cases
  • Baugher v. Gates Rubber Co., Inc., Nos. 61440
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • October 12, 1993
    ...the defendant attorney's conduct the plaintiff would have been successful in the prosecution of the underlying claim. Scher v. Sindel, 837 S.W.2d 350, 353 (Mo.App.1992). In both cases this is a stricter standard of causation than that recognized in California and would not furnish a basis f......
  • Eckel v. Eckel, WD 80113
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • February 27, 2018
    ...Network , 41 S.W.3d 462, 464 (Mo. banc 2001) ). "However, the conclusions of the pleader are not admitted." Scher v. Sindel , 837 S.W.2d 350, 351 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992). "No attempt is made to weigh any facts alleged as to whether they are credible or persuasive. Instead, the p......
  • Thompson by Thompson v. Gilmore, No. 19216
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 30, 1994
    ...of limitation ran on plaintiff's claim. Legal malpractice can be based either upon negligence or breach of contract. See Scher v. Sindel, 837 S.W.2d 350, 353 (Mo.App.1992); Boatright v. Shaw, 804 S.W.2d 795, 796 (Mo.App.1990). The one-count petition alleged an agreement with defendants by w......

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