Ex-O.C. treasurer wins $10 million in malpractice suit against Newport Beach attorney

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-greer-lawsuit-20170516-story.html

Chriss Street, a former Orange County treasurer-tax collector, has been awarded nearly $10 million in a malpractice lawsuit against his former attorney Phil Greer, a candidate for Newport Beach City Council last year.

An Orange County Superior Court jury Thursday awarded Street $7.5 million for professional negligence and $2.4 million for fraudulent representation.

Greer did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. His attorney, Steve Young, did not respond to a call from the Daily Pilot on Tuesday but told the Orange County Register on Monday that his client plans to appeal.

Street alleged in the lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in 2011, that Greer botched his case while he was representing him in a civil matter.

In that case, Street was ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages for mismanaging a bankruptcy trust he operated for eight years before he was elected county treasurer in 2006.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Richard Neiter ruled in 2010 that Street had kept improper records and used the trust to pay himself an additional $240,000 salary and cover personal expenses, including charges on a company credit card and a trip to South America, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

Street ended his campaign for reelection as treasurer and unsuccessfully appealed the judgment twice.

“I appealed, but there’s no appeal in a civil case for lawyer insufficiency,” Street said Tuesday. “It’s just tough luck.”

So Street decided to sue Greer, claiming that he mismanaged his case.

Street alleged that Greer missed a series of hearings, including a pretrial conference that resulted in the judge accepting facts submitted by the plaintiff. He also alleged that Greer failed to correctly enter evidence into the record.

By the time the trial rolled around, Street said, he didn’t have evidence he was allowed to present because it hadn’t been properly introduced.

However, Young told the Register that “Mr. Street never demonstrated that he [Street] didn’t do the things that he was found liable for … which to me is the first step before you ever point your finger at someone else.”

On the other hand, Street’s attorney, Russel Myrick, said Tuesday that the jury’s decision last week exonerated his client from all previous allegations.

“It was a fantastic day in Orange County Superior Court,” Myrick said. “The jury was required to determine whether Mr. Street breached his fiduciary duties. They weighed all the evidence and found that he did not.”

Myrick said he plans to file paperwork intended to overturn the $7 million judgment against Street.

Greer, a 19-year Newport Beach resident, ran unsuccessfully in November for a seat on the City Council representing District 7, which includes Newport Coast and Newport Ridge.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

Copyright © 2017, Daily Pilot

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