Professional Responsibility Keyed to Hazard
Greycas, Inc. v. Proud
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Crawford was in desperate need of capital for his farm business. He went to Greycas, Inc. (Plaintiff) about a loan, offering his farm machinery as collateral. Upon Plaintiff’s demand, Crawford retained Proud (Defendant), an attorney (and Crawford’s brother-in-law), to draft a letter stating he had completed a records search and was satisfied that the machinery had no prior security interests. This Defendant did, even though he had not in fact performed a search, and the machinery was subject to a prior security interest. Based on Defendant’s assertions, Plaintiff loaned Crawford over $1 million. The next year, Crawford defaulted and committed suicide. Plaintiff, finding that it had no security interest of any value, brought suit against Defendant. A district court, sitting in diversity, entered a judgment of $833,760 in Plaintiff’s favor. Defendant appealed, arguing he did not owe a duty to Plaintiff.
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