Here is a decision from Justice Diamond in New York County, dismissing a legal malpractice case on collateral estoppel. Tydings v, Greenfield, Stein & Senior LLP. The case is reported in today’s NYLJ [subscription].
"It is ordered that: This is a legal malpractice action. Plaintiff Frieda Tydings is a former trustee of an irrevocable inter vivos trust created in 1993 by and for the benefit of an individual named Ricki Singer. On January 1, 1997, plaintiff resigned as trustee and was replaced by a successor. On August 21, 2003, Singer commenced a proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court, New York County, in which she sought a compulsory accounting from both plaintiff and the successor trustee. Plaintiff retained the defendant law firm, Greenfield, Stein & Senior, LLP, to represent her in the accounting action. Plaintiff claims that defendant never filed an answer or any other response to Singer’s petition for a compulsory accounting and that, as a result, on September 24, 2003, the Surrogate’s Court issued an order requiring her to provide an accounting. Thereafter, defendant withdrew as plaintiff’s counsel in the Surrogate’s Court proceeding and plaintiff filed a final accounting on November 14, 2004.
On November 16, 2005, Singer filed objections to plaintiff’s accounting and sought to charge plaintiff with respect to matters that occurred before her resignation as trustee in 1997. Plaintiff, through her new counsel, filed a motion to dismiss the objections, pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5), on the ground that the six-year statute of limitations for accounting actions had expired prior to the filing of Singer’s petition to compel an accounting. On January 27, 2006, the Surrogate’s Court (Renee Roth, J.) denied plaintiff’s motion on the grounds that (1) the accounting six-year statute of limitations had not yet expired by the filing date of the petition and (2) plaintiff waived the statute of limitations defense by failing to assert it in a timely manner. See In re Singer, 12 Misc3d 621, 624-26 (Surr’s Ct NY Co 2006). On appeal, the order was affirmed solely on the issue of waiver. See In re Singer, 30 AD3d 211 (1st Dept 2006). The First Department did not address the issue of whether the plaintiff’s statute of limitations defense would have been valid if it had been timely asserted. This legal malpractice action then followed. The defendant now moves to dismiss the complaint, pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a)(1), (5) and (7), on the grounds that the complaint fails to state a cause of action and/or is barred by collateral estoppel. "