Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Riso v. Dwyer

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

March 18, 2016

Gregory Riso & a.
v.
Maureen C. Dwyer, Esq. & a

         Argued January 7, 2016.

          Hillsborough-northern judicial district.

          Finis E. Williams, III, of Concord, by brief and orally, for the plaintiffs.

          Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios, PLLP, of Concord ( William C. Saturley and Gregory L. Silverman on the brief, and Mr. Saturley orally), for the defendants.

         LYNN, J. HICKS and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

          OPINION

Page 558

          Lynn, J.

          The plaintiffs, Gregory and Sonia Riso, appeal an order of the Superior Court ( Nicolosi, J.) granting a motion to dismiss their negligence claim against the defendants, Attorney Maureen C. Dwyer and Barradale, O'Connell, Newkirk & Dwyer, P.A., on the grounds that the defendants owed no duty of care to the plaintiffs to promptly execute Gregory's mother's will. Because we find this case indistinguishable from Sisson v. Jankowski, 148 N.H. 503, 809 A.2d 1265 (2002), we affirm.

         Construed most favorably to the plaintiffs, the record contains the following facts. See England v. Brianas, 166 N.H. 369, 371, 97 A.3d 255 (2014).[1] In February 2012, Gregory Riso's mother, Beatrice Riso, hired Dwyer to redraft her will. Beatrice had five children: Rocco, Ronald, Carolyn, Kenneth, and Gregory. Her existing will granted one-third interests in her estate to Kenneth, Ronald, and Gregory; however, she wished to make Gregory her sole beneficiary. Beatrice wanted to change her will because she believed that Kenneth and Ronald had intended to distribute Gregory's share of her estate to Carolyn and Rocco, whom she had disinherited. Beatrice suspected that Kenneth and Ronald had deceived her about the contents of the first will and delayed when she asked for their assistance in revising it. Thus, she wished to remove Kenneth and Ronald from her will without delay. She told Dwyer that she wanted to execute the new will by March 2, 2012.

         The plaintiffs and Beatrice met with Dwyer on February 28, and Beatrice provided the necessary information to draft the will. Beatrice, who was 90 years old, also provided a letter from her physician stating that she was mentally competent to make decisions. March 2 passed without Beatrice executing her will. Soon after, Beatrice was hospitalized. Throughout this time, the plaintiffs and Beatrice did not contact Dwyer. Nor did Dwyer contact Beatrice. Beatrice died on March 10, without executing her new will.

         The plaintiffs filed a negligence claim against Dwyer and her firm. They alleged that the defendants breached their duty of care by failing to execute Beatrice's will promptly. The defendants, arguing that we rejected such a duty in Sisson, 148 N.H. at 509, moved to dismiss the complaint. The plaintiffs asserted that Sisson was distinguishable because Beatrice had committed to a date certain to execute her will and demonstrated that she would not change her mind, while the decedent in Sisson had not. See Sisson, 148 N.H. at 504. The trial court agreed with the defendants

Page 559

and concluded that the analysis in Sisson did not rely upon the lack of a firm deadline to execute the will. It determined that the reasoning in Sisson instead relied upon the potential for conflict between the decedent and the potential beneficiary. See id. at 507-09. Because the trial court found that the same potential for conflict existed under the circumstances here, it granted the defendants' motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs filed a motion to reconsider, which the trial court denied, and this appeal followed.

         On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that we should distinguish this case from Sisson and hold that Dwyer owed them a duty of care because of Beatrice's desire to have her will executed by a date certain, and because her determination ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.