A jury has recommended a Fairfax attorney pay more than $456,000 in damages after it found he negligently represented a woman in her 2009 divorce settlement, according to court documents.
Kathleen P. Whyard sued James G. Kincheloe Jr. in Fairfax County Circuit Court, claiming the attorney’s poor work cost her a “significant loss” of money during the divorce proceedings, according to court records. Kincheloe denied the allegations in court filings.
The jury’s award is unusually large for a legal malpractice case in Fairfax County.
Whyard claimed Kincheloe gave her bad advice in accepting the settlement and failed to call witnesses that could have bolstered her case for a bigger chunk of the assets she shared with her then-husband, Charles E. Whyard II, according to court records. The couple once shared a home in the Fairfax Station area.
The couple’s settlement stipulated Kathleen would get $171,500 for a “one-half” share of assets that included Aruba timeshares, the sale of a boat, equity in a home and other properties, according to court documents.
Whyard originally hired Kincheloe to represent her in 2003 at a rate of $250 an hour, according to court documents.
Kathleen Whyard’s brother-in-law, Jeffrey C. Wright, also filed a fraud suit against Kincheloe, claiming the attorney lied to him to get him to put up $150,000 to pay for his services for Whyard, according to court documents. Kincheloe denied those allegation in court filings.
Whyard and Wright’s lawsuits were merged. The jury awarded Whyard $206,500 and Wright $250,000, plus interest in both cases.
Kincheloe has worked as an attorney for over 28 years and was previously the town attorney in Clifton, according to his Web site.
Calls to an attorney for Whyard and to Kincheloe were not returned.