There is a hierarchy of legal malpractice mistakes, recognizable by even a layperson. At the head of the list is the failure to start an action, whether a result of failure to file a notice of claim under the General Municipal Law, The Public Authorities Law, the Court of Claims act, or other claim-notice acts. That failure may be a result of failing to file the summons and complaint, or failing to purchase a new index number for the complaint. This group of “failing to file” the case is easily recognizable to the lay juror.
The next group consists of failures consists of serving the wrong defendants, failing to obtain jurisdiction over the person, failing to serve an adequate complaint or filing a complaint after the statute of limitations has run. These failures too, are easily recognizable.
The third group arises from calendar control problems and failures to appear on status conferences, clerk’s calls, pre-trial or pre-calendar conferences, and appearances in TAP or the Jury Coordinating Part.
The fourth group arises from other calendar control problems, not created by a failure to appear in court. A case marked off calendar by a party, must be restored within 1 year. A default judgment must be taken within one year. An order must be settled within 60 days or abandoned. A motion to renew or reargue must be made within 20 days, a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction must be made within a short time period. A 90-day notice requires a response. A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days. An appeal must be perfected within the department’s time period.