Courts often take claims of attorney mistakes short of the outright failure to start a case not so seriously. Many the act, which plaintiff claims is a departure, is said to be a failing but permitted strategic decision. Not so in Caso v Miranda Sambursky Sloane Sklarin Ver Veniotis LLP
2017 NY Slip Op 03607 Decided on May 4, 2017 Appellate Division, First Department.
Plaintiff was the victim of a hit-and-run and there was an eye-witness. Here is what happened.
“In this legal malpractice action, plaintiff, the victim of a hit-and-run accident, alleges that defendants, who represented him in the underlying personal injury action, were negligent in failing to prepare and present the testimony of the sole eyewitness; that defendants’ negligence caused a verdict against him; and that he sustained actual damages. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that, prior to the eyewitness’s deposition testimony two years after the accident, defendants failed to refresh the eyewitness’s memory by showing him the police record of a phone call he made shortly after the accident, in which he described the hit-and-run vehicle as a green garbage truck with a flat front. The eyewitness then testified to the contrary at his deposition, stating that the garbage truck he remembered fleeing the scene had a round front, not a flat front. Plaintiff alleges that but for defendants’ negligence in handling the key witness in his case, he would have prevailed, as the driver operated a green garbage truck with a flat front, and the driver had already admitted to a route that would have placed him at the scene on the day and time of the accident. These allegations are sufficient to survive a CPLR 3211(a)(1) and (7) motion to dismiss, as nothing in the record conclusively establishes a defense as a matter of law (see Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d 83, 87-88 ) and plaintiff has adequately pleaded a claim for legal malpractice (see Global Bus. Inst. v Rivkin Radler LLP, 101 AD3d 651, 651 [1st Dept 2012]; see also Rudolf v Shayne, Dachs, Stanisci, Corker & Sauer, 8 NY3d 438, 442 ).”