New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

Category Archives: Legal Malpractice Cases

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Only in Manhattan…

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Where else in this fair country could a dispute over replacement of a washing machine escalate to litigation over Judiciary Law 487, treble damages, attorney fees and the business judgment rule?  Only in Manhattan and probably only in a coop.  Plaintiff had to get permission to put in the washer/dryer and then when it broke… Continue Reading

A Huge Mess; Let’s Start Over

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Plaintiff agrees to buy a newly constructed home, so long as the builder can produce a Certificate of Occupancy.  Of course, there is no C of O at the closing, and everyone goes into a song and dance.  Escrows, title insurance promises and monies paid to the attorneys cloud the story.  Now, after a slew… Continue Reading

Litigation is a Game of Kings…With Lots of Money at Play

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Arbor Realty Funding, LLC v Herrick, Feinstein LLP  2016 NY Slip Op 08935  Decided on December 29, 2016  Appellate Division, First Department is certainly a case about money.  Note the level of defense attorney players here…Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Blank Rome, LLP, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, New… Continue Reading

A Classic Legal Malpractice Case to End the Year

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
It’s our last blog for the year, and it is a classic situation.  We leave you ’till January with this story. Copeny v George T. Peters, PLLC  2016 NY Slip Op 32501(U)  December 16, 2016  Supreme Court, Kings County  Docket Number: 501818/14  Judge: Larry D. Martin is all about a car accident, and the selection of… Continue Reading

When Quasi-Legal Malpractice Claims Get Really Ugly

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
This case mentions legal malpractice, and is a variant of the classic “you did me wrong, so I’m suing” trope.  Here, an international investor, is accused of defamation of a well-regarded law firm and its principal. Morelli v Wey  2016 NY Slip Op 32487(U)  December 16, 2016  Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 153011/16… Continue Reading

All The Judiciary Law 487 Cases of 2016 (3)

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases, Uncategorized
We continue with the cases: 7.  Neroni v Follender  2016 NY Slip Op 01527 [137 AD3d 1336]  March 3, 2016  Appellate Division, Third Department is the story of a defendant who was sued and lost, then turned around and sued the plaintiffs and their attorneys not unlike a poster-child for the principle of privity.  It… Continue Reading

All the Judiciary Law 487 Cases of 2016 (2)

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Vol.2 of all the Judiciary Law Cases of 2016: Hudson v Hahn Kook Ctr. (USA), Inc.  2016 NY Slip Op 00882 [136 AD3d 459]  February 9, 2016  Appellate Division, First Department . Plaintiffs agreed to allow non-party attorney to withdraw while a motion to dismiss for discovery failures was pending.  Their claim that he committed deceit was… Continue Reading

The Ironic Loss of a Legal Malpractice Case on Default

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Legal malpractice litigation is all about mistakes, significant mistakes, made by attorneys.  The loss of a legal malpractice case via an unopposed motion to dismiss ranks high on the irony scale.  Thus, Goss v DiMarco  2016 NY Slip Op 08506  Decided on December 21, 2016  Appellate Division, Second Department is instructive on two levels.  First, don’t allow… Continue Reading

All The Judiciary Law 487 Cases of 2016

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Judiciary Law § 487 is (perhaps) the oldest statute in existence here in New York.  It descends from the first Statute of Westminster, which was adopted by the Parliament summoned by King Edward I of England in 1275.  It has been in effect from the founding of our country.  The statute reads: “Misconduct by Attorneys An… Continue Reading

Legal Malpractice, Corporations and Shareholders

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
In the world of commercial litigation, intra-company claims often morph into legal malpractice cases.  In LLCs one member may go against another member, in corporations, boards can split into majority/minority groups, each pitted against the other.  When the LLC or the Corporation hired an attorney, to whom does that attorney owe an obligation?  Put another… Continue Reading

Limits of Duty in a Non-Medical Professional’s Work

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Attorneys have duties to clients, in the nature of a fiduciary duty. Professionals other than doctors have duties to their clients/customers in varying levels.  Pharmacists, who are professionals owe an independent duty to persons for whom they fill a prescription…don’t they?  Well…not really, even though the profession of pharmacology is traced back to ancient Egypt… Continue Reading

It’s Not Malpractice, It’s Not Fraud, But it May be Aiding and Abetting

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Weinstein v CohnReznick, LLP  2016 NY Slip Op 08068  Decided on November 30, 2016 Appellate Division, Second Department is an example of the Second Department Appellate Division dicing a Suffolk County dismissal into component parts. and keeping one claim alive. Plaintiffs essentially sued the accountants for a group that took them over.  Was there sufficient privity?… Continue Reading

Digressions into Pro-se Legal Malpractice Litigation

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
When reading an Appellate Division decision, the tone and subject matter rapidly indicate that the case is a pro-se legal malpractice litigation, as the participants spend inordinate amounts of time debating useless issues.  As an example, Hyman v Pierce 2016 NY Slip Op 08272 Decided on December 8, 2016 Appellate Division, Third Department deals entirely with appellate practice over… Continue Reading

Courts Crave Finality

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
One way to look at how legal malpractice cases come out is by applying Occam’s razor.  Which result will more likely be final…now, not later?   Optical Communications Groups, Inc. v Rubin, Fiorella & Friedman, LLP  2016 NY Slip Op 08180  Decided on December 6, 2016  Appellate Division, First Department is a fine example.  The case… Continue Reading

The Infrequent “Special Circumstances” Exception to the Privity Rule

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The privity rule in legal malpractice is both a policy and a substantive nightmare for peripheral clients.  These include the beneficiary, the individual in a corporate setting and others.  The exception permits a law suit when there is fraud, collusion, malice or special circumstances.  The exception is rarely invoked, and the “special circumstances” portion even… Continue Reading

Take The Work? Do The Work.

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Real Estate in New York is always a hot topic.  Prices for apartments can reach $3000 per square foot in certain circumstances, and the value of landmarked real property cannot be overstated.  What happens when a building project goes badly wrong?  Litigation. 143 Bergen St., LLC v Ruderman  2016 NY Slip Op 07936  Decided on… Continue Reading

Privity is the Strongest Barrier in Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
He was my lawyer, why can’t I sue him?  Privity, or the direct contractual relationship between attorney and client is the bedrock of the legal malpractice system.  For policy reasons, (we think) this requirement is almost never excused.  The policy is most likely that of avoiding a legal malpractice case after each and every litigation.… Continue Reading

A Look At Discovery in an Upstate Legal Malpractice Case

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
A commercial transaction (likely the sale of a business) leads to complications and eventually to a legal malpractice case.  What is the status of electronic stored information discovery upstate ?  In this Rochester case we see the parties battling over relatively small amounts of money in allocation of discovery costs. Wade v McConville  2016 NY… Continue Reading

The Reflexive Use of Judiciary Law 487

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
It is a frequent trope in the legal malpractice world that LM claims are made reflexively in order to avoid payment of attorney fees.  While that might actually happen, our anecdotal examination finds that most legal malpractice claims are well considered, and are generally meritorious. The same is not necessarily true of Judiciary Law 487… Continue Reading

The Account Stated Claim and A Defense

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Attorney fee litigation takes up the larger part of all litigation involving attorneys as parties, and it almost always revolves around hourly billing.  There are few cases involving contingent fee cases.  Hourly rate billing principles include “account stated” which posits that regularly tendered invoices for services rendered to the client where the client either signed off on… Continue Reading

If the Law Firm is Out of The Case, Get Some Proof

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The statute of limitations is a strong and almost impermeable defense…when there is adequate proof that the attorney-client relationship actually ended.  Here, in  Aqua-Trol Corp. v Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A.  2016 NY Slip Op 07916  Decided on November 23, 2016  Appellate Division, Second Department the proof was lacking and the case goes on. “The plaintiff… Continue Reading

When Is A Receiver Warranted in Litigation?

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
With a throwaway line that plaintiff also brought claims against “the attorneys”, Homapour v Harounian  2016 NY Slip Op 31408(U)  July 21, 2016  Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 653795/2015  Judge: Eileen Bransten goes on to discuss when a receiver should be appointed in a litigation. “This is an action brought by Mehrnaz Nancy Homapour against… Continue Reading

Barter and the Law of Professional Negligence

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
It takes a lawyer and an accountant to make a mess that basically stupefies the mind and court.  Attorney agrees to defend an accountant in a malpractice setting and barters the fees for accounting work. (Red flag?)  Later, the accountant, who works for a big firm takes on the attorney as a “private client” in… Continue Reading
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