New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

Category Archives: Blog Articles

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Cases This Week in Legal Malpractice

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Fred W. Nelson, etc., respondent, v Stanley Kalathara, defendant, Claude Simpson, appellant. (Index No. 3167/07) 2006-09551 SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, APPELLATE DIVISION, SECOND DEPARTMENT 2008 NY Slip Op 1313 February 13, 2008, Decided Here, plaintiff is the guardian of an incapacitated seller of real property, and defendants were the attorneys for purchaser. Purchase funds… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Legal Malpractice Statute of Limitations

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Hinshaw reports a fairly complicated commercial liquidated damages case arising from a bank loan to individuals which led to a default, which led to a confession of judgment, which led to a settlement, with inadequate documentation of the settlement.  At least one judgment was not marked "satisfied."  After trips up and down to the Appellate Courts there,… Continue Reading

Clients Lose Settlement and Legal Malpractice Case

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Clients claim that attorney forged their names on settlement documents, then stole money.  They sue attorney, get judgment, and then lost any ability to collect, when carrier successfully disclaims and wins a collection case brought by the cleints against the carrier. Wiley Rein, LLP reports: The Supreme Court of Nebraska has held that misappropriation and dishonesty exclusions… Continue Reading

Not All Trials go to a Jury, Even in Legal Malpractice

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One of the more ironic but interesting aspects of legal malpractice, like quantum mechanics, is that the very act of measurement [trial] can cause the observed object to change.  Similarly, in the prosecution of a legal malpractice case, there can be legal malpractice .  Here, from the Madison Record there is the potential for a further case: "Madison… Continue Reading

Duane Morris Legal Malpractice Case Decided

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A commonly quoted statistic is that 95% of all cases are resolved prior to trial;  they are resolved through motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment and settlements.  The few cases that go on to trial generally, they calculate, go 50/50.  Here is a highly reported, big $ legal malpractice case which went to trial,… Continue Reading

Federal Question Jurisdiction in Legal Malpractice

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Legal malpractice is a wholly state cause of action, and might be brought in Federal District Court only if there is a basis for jurisdiction.  Diversity jurisdiction is the one most quickly thought of, but in certain circumstances federal question jurisdiction may also apply.  Questions of legal malpractice in a patent representation is one such… Continue Reading

Court Will not Allow Attorney to Quit

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In Scher v. Mishkit  [NYLJ exerpt], Supreme Court, Suffolk County refused to allow this attorney to wifhdraw pursuant to CPLR 321.  This situation is more common than one might guess, especially in medical malpractice cases.  The case is brought, and prosecuted, with depositions, and medical record exchanges, and then placed on the calendar, without an… Continue Reading

Failure to Pay Legal Malpractice Judgment Leads to Attorney Suspension

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It is an ethical  violation of 22 NYCRR 603.4[e][1][iv]  willfully to fail to satisfy a judgment arising out of one’s professional activities.  For the most part, these judgments arise from legal malpractice. Here  an attorney is suspended because of an unsatisfied judgment: "Respondent’s failure to cooperate with the Committee’s investigation (22 NYCRR 603.4[e][1][i]) and her willful… Continue Reading

Judicial Hellhole and Legal Malpractice

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So far the central question in this legal malpractice case is whether it is taking place in a judicial hellhole, and incidently, who gets to make that decision. This is a legal malpractice case taking place in Madison County, Illinois.  Here is the story from the Madison St. Claire Record: "Relics of Madison County’s past are… Continue Reading

Indiana Excess Insurer Malpractice Case

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Indiana Legal Blog reports on the Transcontinental legal malpractice case.  We reported on it earlier, but there seems to be a new twist: "On appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals did not accept the excess insurer’s argument that they should be allowed to bring a legal malpractice claim against the client’s attorneys under the doctrine of… Continue Reading

Arbitration in Legal Malpractice

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Here is a commentary from Larry Upshaw  on the pro/con arguments for a law firm putting an arbitration clause in the retainer agreement.  From plaintiff’s prospective, it can be a costly problem.  Take a commercial legal malpractice in which there are potential $ 1 million damages. A trial can be had for the cost of… Continue Reading

Motions to Dismiss on “Documentary Grounds” and Legal Malpractice

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Here is a case from Richmond County with an interesting twist.  Facts:  Mother gets into money trouble and faces foreclosure.  Daughter helps out and negotiates a mortgage to pay off the earlier debts and prevent foreclosure.  An attorney is "assigned" by the mortage company for the mother.  Later Mom comes to believe that the terms and… Continue Reading

Duane Morris $ 1.6 Million Legal Malpractice Case

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Law.Com reports this Philadelphia case.  "In opening statements on Tuesday in Adlerstein v. Duane Morris, physicist Joseph K. Adlerstein’s attorney, Clifford E. Haines, said Duane Morris was responsible for his client only receiving $200,000 of a $1.8 million settlement with SpectruMedix, the company he founded. And that $200,000, he said, ultimately went toward rising legal bills… Continue Reading

No Harm, No Foul in Legal Malpractice

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Thoroughly investigate any human endeavor, and error can be found.  Legal malpractice law holds that one must demonstrate that "but for" the attorney’s error, there would have been a better or different result.  This case, Cohen v Weitzner ,2008 NY Slip Op 00618 ,Decided on January 31, 2008 .Appellate Division, First Department  illustrates the rule:… Continue Reading

Yet Another Trap in Municipal Injury Suits

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When does a municipality have knowledge of "the essential facts" upon which a claim is made, and when does a municipality have "actual knowledge"?  This seemingly small distinction has grave consequences for a plaintiff, and incidentally plaintiff’s attorney, Matter of Felice v Eastport/South Manor Cent. School Dist. ,2008 NY Slip Op 00691 ,Decided on January… Continue Reading

Doctor Sues his Attorneys when they Settle a Case Without Telling Him

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Here is a case from Louisiana found by the Law Profession Blog..  While it has very unfamiliar language in it, the situation is very familiar.  Doctor is sued for medical malpractice.  He does not have a consent policy.  Carrier settles without telling him some important things, such as, they waived a jury trial for him.  He sues… Continue Reading

Philadelphia Legal Malpractice Case Goes to Verdict

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Yesterday we reported that the Purlite legal malpractice case was going to the jury;  it appeared from reports that a question of the statute of limitations would be the most important issue.  Now, breaking news is that the trial ends with a defense verdict, but on the merits and not on the question of the… Continue Reading

Bankruptcy Court is the Hot New Venue for Legal Malpractice

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It may be a sign of the new economic times, or it may simply be a new trend, but legal malpractice cases are increasing in the bankruptcy setting.  NY Lawyer reports a fraudulent concealment – legal malpractice case by the trustee against an attorney and firm today. "In In re Food Management Group (Grubin v. Rattet),… Continue Reading

Purolite Legal Malpractice Case and Statute of Limitations

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Purolite hired defendant law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius for advice on whether they could sell products to Cuba.  The law firm gave advice, Purolite came under criminal investigation, and a law suit was born. NY Lawyer reports "Both sides said Morgan Lewis’ original advice in 1993 was for the company to stop all sales… Continue Reading

Singer v. Attorney Retainer Dispute Continues

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This case has gone from US District Court to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to the NY Court of Appeals, and back to District Court.  It’s a case in which the question now is whether the retainer agreement is in effect, whether misconduct by the attorney vitiates the agreement, and to… Continue Reading

Rule 1215 and Attorney Fees

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22 NYCRR 1215 is a section of the law that governs attorney fees and engagement letters or retainer agreements.  Until recently, courts have had differeing interpretations of the penalty when an attorney seeks fees but has no retainer agreement or engagement letter. The cases were decided in three different ways:  the first allowed the attorrney fees determined… Continue Reading

The Brando Family, Death and Legal Malpractice

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Christian, son of Marlon Brando died last week, and the AP his former wife has now started a legal malpractice action concerning his will and codicils.  "But his family requested the autopsy on Monday "based on his past drug history," Los Angeles County coroner’s Lt Fred Corral said. The autopsy, including a toxicology analysis, was… Continue Reading

Legal Malpractice in its many Guises

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Small or Multi-billion dollar case, legal malpractice cases all rest upon the same three bases:  deviation from accepted practice, proximate cause and damage.  As an example, here is a smallish case from the Madison Record: "A legal malpractice claim filed by Cydney Hollaway against Fairview Heights attorney Thomas C. Rich alleges she did not receive… Continue Reading

Bankruptcy and Legal Malpractice

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From an unpublished Illinois case, discussed  by  the Illinois Legal Malpractice Blog, we are reminded of the fact that a bankruptcy filing will generally cut off plaintiff’s right to bring any law suit, including the legal malpractice case.  Two things that always bear review: 1.  When one files bankruptcy, everything, including potential unpled causes of… Continue Reading
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