Attorney must pay child's injury settlement after releasing funds to parent without restrictive endorsement
In the matter of The Estate of Calvin Graves, the Court of Appeals recently ruled that a child's attorney must pay the child's Estate the money that the attorney mistakenly turned over to the child's father. The father was the child's Conservator, however, after an injury settlement was achieved, the attorney issued the child's check to the father without making it payable to him as Conservator for Calvin. As a result, he was able to (and did) cash the check and spend it. When he could not fulfill his duty to pay the money over to the Estate, the Probate Court required the attorney to come up with the money. On appeal, the Court of Appeals rejected the attorney's claims arguing lack of subject matter jurisdiction and that he could not be sued by the Court for "malpractice." The higher court pointed out that his client was the boy's Estate, and it was entitled to hold him responsible for his failure to act with due care.