FRESNO, Calif., Aug. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warning that “justice delayed is justice denied,” a Fresno judge was asked in a court filing to reject efforts by prominent California law firm Dowling Aaron Incorporated to further delay a multi-million-dollar malpractice suit against it.

Claiming Dowling is guilty of “guile and incompetence” and has “no defense,” the filing said Dowling is “manufacturing claims for continuances to drag out this litigation, escalate costs and bully their victims into submission.” These actions “are transparently designed to subvert the legal process and further victimize the plaintiffs.”

A court hearing is to be held Tuesday in Fresno Superior Court.

The malpractice suit against Dowling was brought by Brian Gwartz, his wife Cheryl Skigin and their Pendragon Trust.

The case stretches back to a bizarre drama that began in 2008 involving a purported descendant of French horse-breeding aristocracy who faked her own death and whose husband used his alleged bereavement and the false French connection to hide construction defects and artificially inflate the value of a 15-acre horse ranch in Fresno purchased by Gwartz and his wife.

Gwartz, then a contender in carriage driving, had hoped to use the ranch to prepare for his life-long dream of competing for a place with the U.S. Equestrian Team.

“Dowling’s misrepresentations, omissions and incompetence … denied Dr. Gwartz that priceless chance to compete that could not be purchased with money,” said the suit, which accuses Dowling of legal malpractice, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.

In opposing the attempt to further postpone the case, the filing says Dowling is seeking to rewrite history by concocting “alternative facts.”

Among the falsehoods by Dowling, the filing says, are:

  • Despite claiming it hasn’t had time to prepare its defense, “the evidence is unequivocal” that Dowling has known since 2011 it would be sued.
  • Despite claiming that it needs a postponement because the Gwartz case conflicts with another scheduled matter, former Dowling attorney David Weiland intentionally double-booked the other case eight months after the Gwartz case was set.
  • Despite claiming that both sides agreed to delay discovery in the case until after mediation, “there was never any such agreement.”

On its website, Dowling describes itself as “preeminent” and says, “our goal is to ensure that each client receives superior service and unparalleled advice.” Its clients, according to published profiles, include agribusiness giant Archer-Daniels-Midland; insurers AETNA, CNA, Farmers, Fireman’s Fund, Lawyers Mutual and Safeco; and the cities of Fresno, Mendota and Sanger.

Contact:
Daniel B. Spitzer 
Law Offices of Daniel B. Spitzer 
818-990-9700