Here is an example of the lawyer and successor lawyer question in Richardson v. Lindenbaum & Young, from todays NYLJ.
“PLAINTIFFS SUED for legal malpractice against defendant law firms and attorneys. Defendants Young moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ verified complaint for failure to state a cause of action. Plaintiffs asserted that “but for” defendants’ negligence, they would not have been held in default and contempt, further alleging breach of contract by defendants. The court stated plaintiffs failed to allege the Young defendants were the proximate cause of their loss, and “but for” their malpractice plaintiffs would not have sustained some actual and ascertainable damages. It noted plaintiffs also failed to allege they would have prevailed in their defense to various lawsuits “but for” defendants’ malpractice. The court noted that in cases where a successor counsel had sufficient time to protect a party’s rights, the outgoing counsel could not be liable for malpractice, thus any alleged negligence by an outgoing attorney could not be proximate cause of any of plaintiffs’ alleged damages. Therefore, it granted the Young defendants motion.”