Attorney files his own suit over legal malpractice claim

By Harmon Marks | Feb 23, 2011

MADISON -- Controversy over real estate title examination and bank loans swirled over the Lincoln-Boone county line, and Attorney Bobby R. Hale has taken the matter to court.

Hale, who works at Cook & Cook in Madison, focuses his practice on real estate law and title examination. He contests legal malpractice, breach of contract and negligence charges brought against him in Lincoln County by Branch Banking & Trust Co. and Foster residents Kevin and Kimberly Gillispie.

BB&T loaned the Gillispies $85,600 in July 2002 and $107,000 in September 2003 to obtain about 50 acres of land along Coal River in Lincoln County. During detailing settlement documentation, Hale says he was informed by the Gillispies that there might be an inherited, outstanding interest in the subject property.

According to Hale, his title work turned up an outstanding interest and he informed Gillispie. Subsequently the bank and listing-selling agent were told of the problem, Hale says.

Back in September 2005, the Gillispies, BB&T and Hale were among defendants in a Lincoln Circuit Court complaint by heirs of the subject property saying they never signed a deed conveying interests to the Gillispie couple. The Gillispies and BB&T had claimed they were entitled to "contribution from Bobby R. Hale and Cook & Cook for any such damages owed to others or losses incurred ..."

Hale's current complaint says "He has been compelled to defend a fabricated, non-meritorious, frivolous claim." He seeks jury awards for special and general damages, punitive damages sufficient to punish both BB&T and Gillispie for the alleged fraud as well as litigation costs and "the right to join any agent, servant or employee of BB&T in this matter as the discovery in this matter develops."

Attorney Joel Baker is representing Hale. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-6

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