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Release executed by litigants does not protect an attorney from malpractice claim

The Laethem Equipment Company and others sued the law firm Currie Kendall, PLC, in Saginaw, after a "complicated family dispute" was resolved by a settlement and mutual release.  The plaintiffs in the instant case claim that Currie Kendall was  guilty of professional negligence in their handling of the dispute.  Currie Kendall sought dismissal of the claim, arguing that the mutual release signed by the parties to the original dispute should have operated to protect the attorneys from a malpractice claim.  The Court  emphasized the cautionary axiom that one must not confuse "what is being released" [all claims arising out of the transaction] with "who is being released" [the signatories to the Release].  Finding no basis to interpret the document as releasing the attorneys--or including them in a definitive class of persons intended to be released --the Court refused to interpret it as having that effect.

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