Jury Awards $2.5 Mil. in Misrepresentation Case
Dohan and Willson filed preliminary objections to Helmstaedter's claim, contending that Boyd Jr. and Kappe were already acting as agents pursuant to the POA, according to the court papers.
Dohan and Willson also asserted that Boyd Jr. and Kappe collectively discussed and agreed upon the way in which Nelda Davis' assets were to be distributed for her support as well as payment to Boyd Jr. for maintaining Nelda Davis' accounts, and that Kappe was "directly involved" in the management of Nelda Davis' finances, Kappe's papers alleged.
But Hutchison said that Dohan and Willson falsely included Kappe in this regard to lend credibility to Boyd Jr.'s alleged activities as Kappe was "known for his honesty and integrity."
According to the court papers, as the matter progressed, Dohan and Willson continued to involve Kappe in the case, despite Kappe's repeated claims that he had never used POA authority on behalf of Nelda Davis.
An April 2008 court order demanded that $500,000 be removed from Kappe's personal account and deposited into an account for Nelda Davis' use, Kappe's papers said, and ultimately Kappe negotiated a settlement whereby he was released from all litigation in exchange for payment of $350,000.
Kappe alleged in his papers that the defendants made him party to a litigation in which he had no interest, and as a result, had to file for bankruptcy and suffered humiliation and damage to his reputation.
The defendants contended that Kappe had no grounds to seek punitive damages because he "failed to allege any outrageous, reckless or malicious conduct" on their part, according to a memorandum to their preliminary objections.
"In light of [Kappe's] admitted acceptance of the power of attorney and his admitted role as Nelda Wynn Davis' agent, there is no factual basis to assert that [Kappe] should not have participated in the guardianship proceedings, or that his participation was initiated by the defendants in an outrageous or reckless manner," the memorandum said.
"Similarly the plaintiff has not provided support for the bald allegation that defendants breached a fiduciary duty by including him in a lawsuit seeking a guardianship of plaintiff's acknowledged principal, Nelda Wynn Davis, for whom he performed requested acts as a power of attorney."
Dohan and Willson did not return calls seeking comment.