Woman who dismissed pro bono lawyer and settled claim cannot sue him for malpractice
Perhaps as further documentation of the axiom that "no good turn goes unpunished," Kurt Koehler agreed to give free advice to Fengmei Li after she was allegedly wronged by her former employer. Koehler apparently gave the woman his appraisal of the settlement value of the claim, as she was insistent on settling it, and he apparently underestimated what the employer was ultimately unwilling to pay. In any event, Li decided to "go it alone," fired Koehler, gave the employer a higher demand and settled the claim. She then sued Koehler, arguing that he caused her to settle the case for a number that was not the true value of the case. The Circuit Court dismissed and the dismissal was upheld by the Court of Appeals. The Court held that Li could not prove that Koehler had caused her injury--particularly since she fired him and settled the claim on her own.