Not for Publication – Rule 111, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court
Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2010-050103 The Honorable Michael D. Gordon, Judge
Chad Gammage, Scottsdale Plaintiff/Appellant In Propria Persona
Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, P.L.C., Phoenix By Eileen Dennis GilBride and Robert R. Berk Counsel for Defendants/Appellees
Judge Donn Kessler delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould and Judge Michael J. Brown joined.
¶1 Chad Gammage appeals from a jury's award of damages, contending the trial court erroneously instructed the jury. Finding no error or prejudice, we affirm.
¶2 Gammage hired Thomson Conant, PLC (the "Firm") to assist him in his efforts to modify the debt on his Scottsdale residence and lower his monthly payments prior to a scheduled trustee's sale. Gammage's combined debt under a deed of trust and a home equity line of credit exceeded his property's value by more than $100, 000.
¶3 In exchange for a flat fee of $3500, the Firm negotiated with the lender's servicing agent, Aurora Loan Services ("Aurora"), obtained a temporary forbearance agreement, and secured a reduction in debt payments while Aurora was considering the loan modification request. When an Aurora representative advised the Firm that the loan modification had been approved, the Firm immediately notified Gammage and advised him that he would receive the final modification documents directly from Aurora.
¶4 A few days later, the Firm received a letter from Aurora stating that it had terminated the loan modification process because the request had been withdrawn. The Firm notified Aurora in writing that the request had not been withdrawn and had already been approved. Nevertheless, the lender sold Gammage's property at a trustee's sale in September 2009.
¶5 At no cost to Gammage, the Firm filed suit against Aurora to set aside the foreclosure, and obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Gammage opted to abandon that litigation, moved out of his residence, and then sued the Firm and its partner, Paul A. Conant, for legal malpractice.
¶6 During the ensuing trial, the trial court instructed the jury that, as a matter of law, there was insufficient evidence to support Gammage's allegations that the defendants negligently failed to follow up or communicate with Aurora and had failed to monitor the status of the foreclosure. The jury could still consider the ...