New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

Category Archives: Legal Malpractice Cases

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The Statute of Limitations is a High Hurdle

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Mineola, NY:   In an appeal from the decision and order of Supreme Court, Nassau County, the Second Department reminds all that the statute of limitations is an unforgiving obstacle. Quinn v McCabe, Collins, McGeough & Fowler, LLP  2016 NY Slip Op 03153  Decided on April 27, 2016  Appellate Division, Second Department discusses the statute,… Continue Reading

The Reflexive Legal Malpractice Counterclaim

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
It is often and disparagingly said that legal malpractice cases exist solely to get out of obligations to pay attorney fees.  Sometimes that appears to be true.   Popkin v Kopoulos  Decided on April 22, 2016  District Court Of Nassau County, First District  Fairgrieve, J. is the story of an attorney who prepared a retainer agreement… Continue Reading

Vague Allegations of Damages Fail for Plaintiff

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Plaintiff pled an adequate cause of action for himself, but could not plead adequately for his corporation.  This outcome is generally the opposite of what one might expect in a legal malpractice case in which the individual is often not in privity with the attorney while the corporation is.  Brion v Moreira  2016 NY Slip Op… Continue Reading

No One Gets Summary Judgment Here

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Client is a big-time hedge fund earner, getting $5 and $6 million in bonuses over the years.  Suddently, the bottom falls out, and he is offered severeness of only $ 1.6 million.  He consults with defendants who tell him that they can help.  However, defendants divert from the contractually set-up appeal procedure and plaintiff ends… Continue Reading

Clearing the Brush Away from the Statute of Limitations in an Accounting Case

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Weight v Day  2015 NY Slip Op 09093 [134 AD3d 806]  December 9, 2015  Appellate Division, Second Department is an accounting malpractice case with implications for the legal malpractice field.  The statute of limitations begins to run, the Second Department tells us, when there is a verifiable and concrete end to the representation.  The basics are… Continue Reading

The Retainer Agreement and Legal Malpractice Litigation

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Sure, there is a requirement that attorneys provide a retainer agreement or a letter setting forth the work to be performed and the costs.  However, the Appellate Division has ruled that an attorney can collect fees even in the absence of a retainer agreement in Seth Rubenstein v. Ganea.   So, what does it matter anyway?… Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Denied in a Short Affirmance

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Sometimes the Appellate Division will opine and give its full reasoning, sometimes not.  In Soubbotin v Joseph Potashnik & Assoc., PLLC  2016 NY Slip Op 02800  Decided on April 13, 2016  Appellate Division, Second Department the AD merely said that an argument put forward by  the attorneys did not even make it to the prima facie stage. “The… Continue Reading

It was the Court, Not the Attorney

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Bad result suggests that a bad choice was made by the attorneys.  The bad result/choice suggests that a legal malpractice case might be indicated.  This is fair reasoning, but Courts often fail to join in the analysis, and point to a different cause of the bad result.  Put another way, lots of legal malpractice cases… Continue Reading

Suing a Non-Attorney for Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
While the non-attorney was but a small part of this case and non-disclosure was a larger part of the case, this case was dismissed mostly because it is very difficult to succeed on a legal malpractice matrimonial case unless one can show that the monied spouse hid significant assets. Schiff v Sallah Law Firm, P.C.… Continue Reading

It Did Not Happen Here; Don’t Sue Here

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
What happens when NY clients engage in Georgia real estate transactions and the deal goes sour?  The short answer is that you sue the attorney, if it was (even arguably) the attorney’s fault.  Where do you sue?  NY is definitely easier, and may have laws which favor plaintiff.  The sticking point is due process and… Continue Reading

Motions For Summary Judgment Fail Across the Board

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
We sometimes wonder why defendants make motions for summary judgment were it seems clear that there are disputed questions of fact.  Brown-Jodoin v Pirrotti  2016 NY Slip Op 02606 Decided on April 6, 2016  Appellate Division, Second Department is one of those cases.  Defendants tried to dismiss on the “standing” issue merely because this was… Continue Reading

A Very Long Wait and a Quick Disposition

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Attorney client anger may fester for a very long time, and then erupt.  In Katz v Landsman 2016 NY Slip Op 30533(U)  March 30, 2016  Supreme Court, New York County   Docket Number: 161147/14 Judge: Carol R. Edmead we see sort of the opposite.  A dispute, a battle, 6 years go by, and then a second and decisive… Continue Reading

Funding Malpractice and Its Relationship to Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
New York Univ. v International Brain Research  Fund., Inc.  2016 NY Slip Op   30434(U)  March 14, 2016  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 652954/2013 Judge: Jeffrey K. Oing  is a rare look into the medicine-research professional funding world.  IBRF suddenly cut off funding to NYU, and litigation ensued. Whether in the legal malpractice… Continue Reading

An Older Case, An Up-To-Date Lesson

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Analysis of the “but for” portion of the legal malpractice equation is the richest part of the problem.  Departures tend to be obvious or patent; how they affect the viability of the case is the “but for” portion. Russo v Rozenholc  2015 NY Slip Op 06029 [130 AD3d 492]  July 9, 2015  Appellate Division, First… Continue Reading

The Pro-Se Litigant and a Whole Lot of Trouble

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
First words out of CLE lecturers in legal malpractice settings is “Don’t sue for fees!”  Reason? Legal malpractice counterclaims.  Tarshis & Hammerman, LLP v Hartig  2016 NY Slip Op  50393(U) Decided on March 18, 2016  Appellate Term, Second Department is a prime example. (Disclosure:  Both of the plaintiff attorneys were Kings County ADAs as was I… Continue Reading

Some Strange Family Business and Some Bedrock Principles

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Cusimano v Schnurr  2016 NY Slip Op 01758  Decided on March 15, 2016 Appellate Division, First Department is a case of husband and wife versus Wife’s father and sister, and in true NY fashion, its all about real estate. “As a brief summary, this case involves a series of disputes among family members who own a… Continue Reading

A Law School Exam of a Legal Malpractice Case

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Davis v Cohen & Gresser LLP  2016 NY Slip Op 50417(U)  Decided on March 24, 2016 Supreme Court, New York County  Ramos, J. presents a most complicated intertwined issue of tolling, statutes of limitation, successor-attorney problem, onset of statute issues, along with the Mental Health Law and guardianships. The simple story is that Plaintiff became… Continue Reading

Consulting With An Attorney and the Statute of Limitations

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Attorney is retained to handle a specific task.  Attorney handles that task.  That’s the end of that particular job.  Related complications arise later.  Plaintiff consults with the attorney on the issue, but the attorney is not retained to represent either party in the complications.  How does “continuing representation” handle this situation? Mahran v Berger  2016 NY… Continue Reading

What is the Proper Response to an “Account Stated” Claim?

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The proper response is admissible evidence to show that client timely objected and even better, to show that the attorneys made significant mistakes.  This is exactly what happened in Jaspan Schlesinger, LLP v Neuberg   2016 NY Slip Op 02057  Decided on March 23, 2016 Appellate Division, Second Department.  The Second Department does not take the time to… Continue Reading

It’s Much More Complicated Than The Decisions Suggests

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Oliveto Holdings, Inc. v Denis W. Light, PLLC  2016 NY Slip Op 02063  Decided on March 23, 2016  Appellate Division, Second Department  decided yesterday is a case much more complicated than the Second Department decision suggests, In the  Supreme Court decision and order  the court recognizes that there was a foreclosure action started and lost at trial,… Continue Reading

The First Department Steps Back From a Controversial Doctrine

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
In matrimonial litigation, cases routinely end with an in-court settlement which includes an allocution of the parties.  Husband and wife are both asked whether they understand the settlement, and importantly, whether they “are satisfied with the work of their attorney.”  In a line of cases the First Department has writeen (as in Harvey v. Greenberg) : “The… Continue Reading

A Previously Unannounced Standard in Judiciary Law 487

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
From time to time the appellate divisions decide cases and introduce “stray” or previously unstated standards.  Whether this is merely a “restatement” of a previously enunciated standard of when the 487 claim may be brought in a new proceeding versus when it must be brought in the underlying proceedings is up in the air.  Previously,… Continue Reading

“Seemingly Endless Pursuit” May Have Ended

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Legal malpractice litigation gets a bad name when critics can point to cases such as Lipin v Hunt 2016 NY Slip Op 01746  Decided on March 10, 2016  Appellate Division, First Department. More like Moby Dick than reasoned litigation, Plaintiff ends up prevented from starting any new cases about her father’s estate.  How did the litigants get… Continue Reading
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