PHOENIX, Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Bradford Lund, grandson of the late Walt Disney, recently, through his counsel, participated in oral argument to the Arizona Appellate Court following briefing where he is seeking to overturn the dismissal of a lawsuit against Arizona attorney Bryan Murphy, and his firm. Lund's lawyer argued that Murphy should not be allowed to escape liability on a "statute of limitations" argument that didn't apply to this case.
Rather, Lund likened the harm caused by Murphy to pollution cases, trespass cases, and domestic violence cases which are often defined as "continuing torts" and cannot be subject to a statute of limitations argument to save the wrongdoer, until the harm itself is finally abated. Thus, Lund argued, the statute of limitations did not begin to run until Murphy and his firm were finally removed from the case.
Lund alleged in his December 2016 lawsuit that attorney Murphy and his law firm of Burch & Cracchiolo, which represented Lund's estranged relatives in an ultimately failed guardianship/conservatorship case, committed "abuse of [judicial] process" due to Murphy's improper possession, disclosure, and utilization of Lund's confidential and "privileged" legal file which was delivered to him in error by Lund's former estate planning firm.
Upon discovery of the privileged material, instead of merely returning the file back unexamined, or destroying the copy, an action that Lund alleged was his duty, Lund's filing, in a brief to the Arizona Court of Appeals, describes what happened next:
"[I]n an atmosphere of scorched-earth killer litigation, even after being advised by Mr. Lund's then counsel that the file should not have been disclosed to him, [Murphy] refused to destroy or return the file as requested. Instead, [Murphy] almost immediately examined every page, disclosed it to key participants of the litigation including the guardian ad litem, court appointed investigator, and multiple others. [Murphy] also went on to make notes about intimate confidential portions of the file. Armed with this improper information which he never should have even set eyes upon, [Murphy] remained as adversarial counsel in Mr. Lund's highly acrimonious case. – Lund Opening Brief, pages 1-2 (Emph. added).
Murphy was subsequently disciplined in the form of an "admonishment" for this same conduct. Lund alleges it took years of legal wrangling and challenges by Murphy and his firm before the trial judge finally granted Lund's demand for disqualification of them, and, in so doing, found in pertinent part:
"…if disqualification is denied, [Lund] will be in litigation against an adversary who is armed with the knowledge of the advice that his own prior counsel gave to him. Litigating against a party who possesses such an advantage is antithetical to the values of an adversary system. While the burdens placed on Petitioners would be, in the final analysis, only financial, quantifiable, and their choice to bear, the burdens faced by Mr. Lund would be those of a system failure, incalculable, and beyond his ability to fully know." – Disqualification Ruling by Judge Bassett, page 5. (Emph. added).
Lund's filings compare Murphy's actions to "noxious pollution spewing through the air," meaning that the pollution continues and thus no "statute of limitations" is applicable until the "pollution" itself is abated. The brief on appeal stated: "The poisonous 'tactical advantage' of [Murphy] continued…until the fatal wound to justice was finally abated by the removal of [Murphy and his firm] as lawyers in the case." Indeed, in arguing for his day in court, Mr. Lund alleges that damages to him continue to this day and will be proven to be "irreparable" at a jury trial.
Contact: Alex Lange
SOURCE Lanny Davis