Legal Malpractice win by Jim Kjar and Jon Schwalbach upheld on appeal by Federal Ninth Circuit

Jon Schwalbach and Jim Kjar drafted a winning motion to dismiss for their client, a well-known family law firm in Los Angeles, in a legal malpractice case. The plaintiff alleged federal civil rights violations against the client for representing an opposing party in a lawsuit. Jon and Jim argued that their client was not liable because the law firm didn’t violated the plaintiff’s civil rights, wasn’t a state actor, and was entitled to immunity under the Noerr–Pennington doctrine. To be liable for federal civil rights violations under Section 1983, a private party must act “under color of state law.” Jon and Jim argued their client’s acts were purely private. Under the Noerr–Pennington doctrine, private entities are immune from liability from acts arising from the right to petition (like representing a client in a lawsuit). The judge granted Jon’s and Jim’s motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice. The plaintiff filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which was also denied in June 2020.