Anthony Lin on The New York Law Journal reports that “A former police union lawyer and labor negotiator convicted on corruption charges in 1998 cannot sue one of his former defense lawyers for failing to request that a lower interest rate be applied to a judgment against him, a Brooklyn appellate court has ruled.
Richard Hartman, who was convicted in connection with the payment of kickbacks by attorneys to secure millions of dollars in legal business from the Transit Police Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, claimed his former counsel, Allen R. Morganstern of Garden City, cost him $55,000 for failing to specify the federal interest rate be applied to a federal judgment against him docketed in state court, as opposed to a higher state interest rate.
In Hartman v. Morganstern, 7337/04, a unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department, reversed a decision by Nassau Supreme Court Justice Roy S. Mahon (see profile) to deny Mr. Morganstern’s motion to dismiss. The panel said there was no case law or statute requiring a New York state court to apply a federal interest rate in such a situation. As such, any lawyer’s request to apply a lower interest rate would not necessarily have resulted in an actual reduction. Thus, the panel said, Mr. Hartman could not demonstrate that, but for his attorney’s negligence, he would have received the lower rate. “details