Try As They Might, Summary Judgment Just Isn't There

We believe that a greater proportion of legal malpractice cases are subject to motions for summary judgment, and that more decisions to dismiss are granted than in other specialties.  In Kempf v Magida  2014 NY Slip Op 02410  Decided on April 9, 2014  Appellate Division, Second Department the merely unusual happened.  Summary judgment was denied because defendant did not show prima facie entitlement.

"contrary to the defendant's contention, he failed to present evidence in admissible form establishing that the plaintiffs were unable to prove at least one of the essential elements of a cause of action to recover damages for legal malpractice (see Barnave v Davis, 108 AD3d 582; Valley Ventures, LLC v Joseph J. Haspel, PLLC, 102 AD3d 955, 956; Alizio v Feldman, 82 AD3d 804). The defendant failed to affirmatively demonstrate the merits of his defense, and he could not sustain his burden merely by pointing out gaps in the plaintiffs' proof (see Alizio v Feldman, 82 AD3d at 804). Since the defendant did not eliminate all triable issues of fact as to whether he failed to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession, and whether his alleged breach of this duty proximately caused the plaintiffs to sustain actual and ascertainable damages (see Rudolf v Shayne, Dachs, Stanisci, Corker & Sauer, 8 NY3d 438, 442; Barnave v Davis, 108 AD3d at 582-583; Valley Ventures, LLC v Joseph J. Haspel, PLLC, 102 AD3d at 956; Alizio v Feldman, 82 AD3d at 804), he failed to sustain his prima facie burden on the motion, and his motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint was properly denied. "

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