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Farmington lawyer accused of malpractice in two lawsuits
The two separate lawsuits were filed last month in district court
FARMINGTON — A Farmington attorney disciplined by a New Mexico Supreme Court board earlier this year is accused of legal malpractice in two separate civil lawsuits.
The lawsuits were filed on Sept. 14 and 25th in the 11th Judicial District Court for San Juan County, according to the complaints.
One lawsuit cites Eric Morrow as the defendant while the other one cites him and his firm The Law Office of Morrow and Pettus as defendants.
Morrow stated he had been not served on one of the lawsuits and he has not reviewed the other lawsuit.
"The office is doing well," Morrow said.
The Sept. 25th lawsuit lists Betty Farley, Robert Farley and Nerissa Valdez as plaintiffs seeking unspecified damages for legal malpractice, negligence and breach of contract, according to court documents.
The lawsuit references a case in which the New Mexico Supreme Court Disciplinary Board disciplined Morrow on Jan. 2, according to the Daily Times archives.
The board placed Morrow on one year of probation for general incompetence, failure to communicate, a conflict of interest resulting in actions adverse to a client's interests and general neglect.
The lawsuit is regarding the handling of a case for the estate and will of Gladeen Winfield, which is Betty Farley's mother and Robert Farley's grandmother.
Morrow is accused of a conflict of interest since he represented Gladeen Winfield before she died, and later represented Betty Farley regarding her mother's will and estate.
Betty's brother, William Winfield Jr., filed a motion to have Betty Farley removed as personal representative of Gladeen Winfield's estate and challenged his mother's will.
Morrow was allegedly unprepared for an April 20, 2015, hearing regarding the estate and had failed to file necessary court documents, including Gladeen Winfield's will, according to court documents.
Morrow was later removed from the case after William Winfield Jr.'s counsel filed a motion to disqualify him regarding the conflict of interest.
The lawsuit alleges the appointment of William Winfield Jr. as a co-personal representative of the estate led to the plaintiffs losing a portion of their inheritance, and they had to pay attorney's fees.
Morrow is accused of failing to properly represent Gladeen Winfield's will and advocate for Betty Winfield as his client, according to the complaint.
The Sept. 14 lawsuit, filed by Andres Garcia, states in a complaint that Morrow was hired to represent him and his firm regarding a medical negligence claim from California.
The complaint alleged that Morrow failed to properly conduct research, failed to properly communicate with the client, did not understand the statute of limitations in a foreign jurisdiction and was "otherwise failing below the standard of care for lawyers practicing law in New Mexico."
Garcia alleges he lost the value of his claim and seeks unspecified damages for the case, including future bills.
A civil lawsuit was filed on July 13 against Shannon Pettus, Morrow's law partner, regarding her handling a dismissed case against San Juan Regional Medical Center.
Her former client allegedly slipped and fell, breaking her ankle, at the hospital.
Some of the claims include Pettus allegedly failing to obtain medical records before filing the lawsuit and failing to respond to discovery inquiries and motions in a timely fashion.
Pettus has not filed a response to the complaint, according to court records.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.