Letourneau v. Hickey

807 A.2d 437 (2002)


Ps and Judds (D) are adjacent agricultural property owners. Ps tapped maple trees on land claimed by both parties. D sued Ps seeking a declaration of the boundary line between the parties' properties. Hickey (D) represented Ps in that case. The trial court awarded the Judds (D) title to the disputed property. The court rejected Ps' adverse possession claim but determined that Ps had acquired a prescriptive profit to harvest maple sap from trees in the disputed area. Ps failed to pay Hickey (D), so he brought a collection action against them and obtained a default judgment in October 1999. Ps filed a complaint against attorney Hickey (D) and the Judds (D), alleging Hickey (D) had committed legal malpractice Michael Judd (D) had slandered them during his testimony in that case. The superior court granted summary judgment to Ds. The court ruled that Ps had waived their right to bring the malpractice claim by failing to raise it as a compulsory counterclaim in the collection action. The court ruled that the allegedly slanderous testimony was privileged and that Ps had failed to provide evidence of any actual harm. Ps appealed.