Hoisted on One's Own Petard in Legal Malpractice
Falling into a trap laid by oneself is a pitiful outcome to litigation. Plaintiff hires defendant attorney to represent plaintiff when he is sued. The underlying case seems to be a construction accident matter. Did plaintiff lose the case because defendant failed to make certain arguments, or was defendant prevented from making those arguments by his client? We can't really tell from the decision, but it seems that defendant undercut his own case here.'
Affordable Community, Inc. v Simon 2012 NY Slip Op 03789 Decided on May 15, 2012 Appellate Division, Second Department tells us: "The defendant here is an attorney who represented the plaintiff in a lawsuit asserted against the plaintiff by an individual who was injured at a construction site owned by the plaintiff. In this legal malpractice action, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff limited him to presenting only certain unsuccessful defense arguments in the course of representation. However, the defendant's own evidence raised a triable issue of fact regarding this allegation. Consequently, there remain triable issues of fact as to whether the defendant negligently failed to present viable defenses in the underlying action and if so, whether, as a result of such failure, the plaintiff incurred liability for damages in that lawsuit. Accordingly, the defendant's submissions in support of his motion for [*2]summary judgment did not establish, prima facie, that the plaintiff will be unable to prove the elements of legal malpractice and, thus, he failed to demonstrate his entitlement to judgment as a matter of law (see Mueller v Fruchter, 71 AD3d 650, 651; Rosenstrauss v Jacobs & Jacobs, 56 AD3d 453, 454). In light of our determination, we need not address the sufficiency of the plaintiff's opposition papers (see Scott v Gresio, 90 AD3d 736, 737; see generally Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851, 853). "