Legal sniping continues apace in the death of a north shore doctor at the hands of his wife in March.
On Friday, an attorney who represents two other attorneys asked a judge to sanction a fourth attorney for what he called “repetitive, frivolous pleadings ... designed to harass” Wayne Breen’s grown children into giving up their wrongful-death claims against Kacie Breen, the wife who shot and killed Wayne Breen on March 1 in their home near Folsom.
The plethora of attorneys in the case can cause some confusion.
In a nutshell, Kacie Breen has one attorney, Richard Ducote. The five grown Breen children have several attorneys, including René Frederick, Mark Mansfield and Frank Tranchina.
Earlier this summer, Ducote asked a judge to disqualify Tranchina and Mansfield in the case on the grounds that they might be called as witnesses because they had represented Wayne Breen in an earlier matter.
Tranchina and Mansfield then hired their own attorney, Alex Peragine.
Ducote also asked a judge to sanction Frederick on the basis that the Breen children’s wrongful-death suits lacked a proper evidentiary basis.
Now, Peragine has asked a judge to sanction Ducote.
Ducote’s motions were aimed at clogging up the courts and driving up the costs of the Breen children’s suits, Peragine said.
He said Ducote’s “motion for sanctions is unfounded, duplicitous and designed solely to harass the Breen children and increase their costs in this litigation.”
Those tactics are grounds for Ducote to be sanctioned, Peragine said.
The legal wrangling between Wayne Breen’s second wife and his grown children from his first marriage has been intense since a few days after his shooting, when Kacie Breen filed to probate his will.
She has never denied that she shot her husband, but she has said she feared for her life. Wayne Breen, who was always prone to fits of rage, had grown increasingly unstable over the last several months of his life as lies he had told about serving in Vietnam had begun to come to light, Kacie Breen has said in court filings.
The Sheriff’s Office declined to arrest her, saying it had found no probable cause to do so. It passed the case to the District Attorney’s Office, which is still reviewing the matter.
Wayne Breen’s death has spurred at least three legal battles: the fight over his will and two wrongful-death suits from his grown children. The latter two are expected to be consolidated.
Last month, 22nd Judicial District Judge August Hand refused Ducote’s motion to sanction Frederick, calling the issue of sanctions “premature.”
A hearing has been set for Sept. 18.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.