FRANK PAWLENDZIO et al.
Argued: April 5, 2016
Davis, Esq., and Aglaia Davis, Esq., Jim Mitchell and Jed
Davis, P.A., Augusta, for appellants Frank and Beverly
M. Bowie, Esq., Thompson & Bowie, LLP, Portland, for
appellee Jon Haddow
Davis, Esq., for appellants Frank and Beverly Pawlendzio
M. Bowie, Esq., for appellee Jon Haddow
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, GORMAN, TABAR, HJELM,
and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Frank and Beverly Pawlendzio appeal from an order of the
Superior Court (Penobscot County, Anderson, J.)
granting summary judgment in favor of Jon Haddow on the
Pawlendzios' claim alleging attorney malpractice. Because
the record does not present a legally cognizable claim of
legal malpractice, we affirm.
For fifteen years, Frank Pawlendzio owned and operated Oak
Ridge Builders, Inc., a home construction company. Oak Ridge
was in business until 2007, when it filed for bankruptcy. Jon
Haddow provided legal advice in connection with the
bankruptcy proceedings. There is no suggestion that Haddow
was negligent in providing advice regarding the corporate
bankruptcy in 2007.
While the corporate bankruptcy was pending, Frank decided to
build a house in his individual capacity on a parcel of
property that he owned with the intent to sell the house
("spec house"] upon completion. Haddow again
provided Frank with legal advice concerning the venture. To
finance the project, Frank obtained funding from three
people: $110, 000 from a longtime friend, Howard Martin; $57,
500 from his elderly father-in-law, Edward King, whose
accounts were controlled by Frank's wife, Beverly; and
$4, 000 from his brother, Stan Pawlendzio. At the time they
were made, all three loans were unsecured.
When the house was substantially completed but before it was
sold, Frank learned that he continued to owe a significant
amount of money to Oak Ridge's creditors because he had
personally guaranteed some debts that were not subject to
discharge in the corporate bankruptcy.
Frank consulted Haddow about filing for personal bankruptcy,
and because he understood from conversations with Haddow that
he could protect his unsecured creditors with mortgages,
Frank asked Haddow to prepare after-the-fact mortgages for
the three personal lenders. Pursuant to these discussions,
Haddow prepared the mortgages. The Pawlendzios subsequently
filed for bankruptcy in December 2008, and ...