A Florida couple who hired an estate planning attorney to set up trusts for their five children with more than $250 million in funding sued the attorney and his firm, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, alleging the defendants exploited them for financial reasons.
Rebecca and Steven Scott allege in their complaint filed Thursday in a Florida state court that Carl Rosen, then an attorney with Broad and Cassel, created a conflict by agreeing to set up trusts for their children and Steven’s mother in 2007 but then went behind their backs to work separately with their oldest son, Rob.
Rosen drafted “unique trusts” for Rob Scott that provided him with “full effective control over his imbalanced trust interest,” they allege. Rosen also “fraudulently” sought permission to represent all members of the Scott family at the same time, the complaint says.
This “stripped” them of their ability to make “informed choices related to their estate planning goals by misrepresenting and omitting key and material facts,” the Scotts allege in the complaint.
Rosen’s “scheme” earned him $3 million in attorneys’ fees, it says.
They are suing Rosen, Broad and Cassel, and Nelson Mullins, which combined with Broad and Cassel in 2018, for legal malpractice.
Nelson Mullins should have known of Rosen’s actions through “reasonable due diligence” when it combined with Broad and Cassel, the complaint says.
Causes of Action: Fraudulent misrepresentation & concealment; fraud in the inducement; grossly negligent misrepresentation; breach of fiduciary duty; constructive fraud; legal malpractice & gross negligence; negligent supervision; fraud in the inducement.
Relief: Joint and several liability; actual and consequential compensatory damages, prejudgment interest and taxable costs.
Response: Rosen didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment, but a spokeswoman for Nelson Mullins said that “the allegations of the complaint are simply not true, and we look forward to proving that in court.”
Attorneys: Plaintiffs are represented by Conrad & Scherer and Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider + Grossman LLP.
The case is Scott v. Rosen, Fla. Cir. Ct., No. CACE20000868, complaint filed 1/16/20.