Michael Goodwin v. David DeBoer


Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP’s client was an Indiana attorney who served as one of three co-counsel for a doctor who pled guilty to Medicare fraud charges in a Texas federal district court. The attorney was sued by the plaintiff for failing to timely inform him when the primary handling attorney was himself criminally charged. According to the plaintiff, this misconduct by the primary handling attorney included stealing money from the plaintiff. The plaintiff also claimed that he would not have pled guilty had he known of the misdeeds of the primary handling attorney. The trial court in the legal malpractice case granted summary judgment to Eichhorn & Eichhorn’s client on the basis that the plaintiff was collaterally estopped from pursuing his claim by: 1) the plaintiff’s own guilty plea; and 2) the judgment findings made by the Texas federal district court that: a) the plaintiff was adequately represented in determining to plead guilty; and b) it would have been unreasonable for him to refuse the plea offer and go to trial. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment for Eichhorn & Eichhorn’s client. The Court of Appeals first noted that the plaintiff had not demonstrated that any of the claimed misconduct on the part of the primary handling attorney either occurred or induced him to plead guilty in some fashion. The Court of Appeals also rejected the plaintiff’s claim that he should be allowed to avoid collateral estoppel under these circumstances. Finally, the Court of Appeals found that, while the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had allowed the plaintiff to pursue a limited appeal of the findings of the Texas District Court, that limited appeal was not material to the aforementioned findings as to which the plaintiff was collaterally estopped.


The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the entry of summary judgment for Eichhorn & Eichhorn's client in a published opinion. The Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer on March 14, 2019.

See complete opinion.

David C. Jensen


(219) 931-0560


Robert J. Feldt




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