Stabler’s ex-wife accused her lawyer of malpractice; now she’s the one who must pay

Stabler-Deen.jpgView full sizeA Mobile County judge has ruled that Rose Burch Stabler, left, failed to respond to a counter-suit filed by attorney Jeff Deen. As a result, the judge ruled that Deen is entitled to monetary damages. Stabler had accused him of legal malpractice related to his handling of a misdemeanor criminal case in Baldwin County. 

MOBILE, Alabama – Kenny Stabler’s ex-wife last year sued the lawyer who represented her on a criminal charge, hoping to hold him accountable for malpractice. Instead, it looks like she is the one who will end up paying.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart in April rejected Rose Burch Stabler’s lawsuit against attorney Jeff Deen after determining that the plaintiff failed to file an affidavit from an expert witness regarding the legal standard of care that the lawyer failed to provide.

Last week, Stewart ruled in Deen’s favor on counter-claims he made alleging that Stabler failed to pay her legal bill and that her suit damaged his reputation. It was “default judgment,” meaning that Stabler never responded to the allegations.

Deen’s attorney, Joseph Dennis, said it was important to file the counter-claim because of the damage associated with a malpractice suit.

“It doesn’t look good when a lawyer gets sued,” he said. “Even though we prevailed and it was a totally baseless suit, people still wonder when lawyers get sued.”

Stabler, a former TV reporter who married and later divorced football great Kenny Stabler, said she never got notice of the counter-suit.

“He never served me with that,” she said. “That is total b.s. I am so sick of these people taking care of each other.”

In her order, Stewart instructed Deen’s lawyer to file paperwork indicating how much Stabler should pay.

Dennis said at the very least, that will include the $2,500 legal fee. “She never paid him for his legal services and then sued him,” he said.

Dennis said he has not yet placed a dollar figure on the malicious prosecution and abuse of process claims.

Stabler said Deen did not send her a bill for the $2,500 until after she sued. She said she ignored it on advice from her malpractice attorney at the time, Jerry Blevins. He later withdrew, citing “irreconcilable differences,” leaving Stabler to represent herself.

At issue in the malpractice case was whether Deen erred by failing to ask then-Baldwin County Circuit Judge Charles Partin to recuse himself in a disorderly conduct case involving Stabler.

Partin presided over the misdemeanor case after a pair of district judges recused themselves. Partin found Stabler guilty of the charge, which stemmed from anincident in the women’s bathroom of the courthouse in Bay Minette in 2011.

Stabler contended that Partin was improperly appointed to the case and that Deen should have sought his recusal based on the fact that the judge presided over her divorce case from 2002 to September 2009 against former University of Alabama and NFL quarterback Kenny Stabler.

Deen has said he saw no grounds to ask Partin to step aside.

Rose Stabler has waged a number of high-profile court battles over the past decade. In addition to the criminal charge and the divorce case, she unsuccessfully sued her divorce lawyer, Mark Ryan, for his handling of the case against her husband. She also unsuccessfully sued Kenny Stabler’s lawyer, Robert Galloway, accusing him of misleading her into accepting a deal to sell her Ono Island home as part of a settlement of a tax case against her ex-husband.

 

BOTTOM LINE:

I think this is a very interesting case.  In defense of the attorneys involved, the fact that she has sued two attorneys and lost should be a red flag.  She sued an attorney who did not even represent her.  She should have taken the advice of her attorney at the time; not blame her husband’s attorney when she chose to take his advice.

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