Judicial Reports tells the tale of a 4 time elevator plaintiff who eventually lost and then sued his attorneys. The case doesn’t come right out and say it, but:
"The plaintiff allegedly was injured in several elevator accidents at his place of employment. An action to recover damages for personal injuries was commenced against the companies that maintained the elevators. In the instant action, the complaint alleges, inter alia, that the defendants Wallace & Minchenberg, Fred Wallace, individually and as a member of Wallace & Minchenberg, and Alfred Minchenberg, individually and as a member of Wallace & Minchenberg (hereinafter the defendants), the attorneys who commenced the underlying personal injury action, committed legal malpractice by failing to properly prosecute the action.
Judicial Reports is more explicit: "Bennett A. Cohen kept getting hurt in elevators — or so he claimed. The lawyers he hired to exact compensation from the culprits responsible for the injuries he allegedly sustained in four elevator mishaps between 1989 and 1992 must have suspected that their litigious client might eventually turn on them, as he did. When the last of the elevator tort claims collapsed, Cohen sued the law firm for malpractice for allegedly mishandling his slam-dunk tort suits. Kings County Justice Lawrence Knipel apparently wasn’t in any hurry to unhitch the lawyers from the petard that they had theretofore been carrying on their former client’s behalf.
Knipel denied the lawyers’ motion to dismiss Cohen’s claims against them, leaving it to the Appellate Division to put an end to it. A unanimous appellate panel concluded that the law firm, Wallace & Minchenberg, can’t be held accountable for failing to vigorously prosecute the personal injury actions because they had no chance of succeeding. The evidence they produced in support of Cohen’s claims stemming from the first three accidents failed to show that the elevator maintenance companies were aware of problems but let them go unfixed, the appellate judges observed, reversing Knipel and dismissing Cohen’s claims related to those cases.
Cohen’s malpractice claim stemming from the fourth alleged accident was filed against the law firm long after the three-year statute of limitations had expired. Knipel should have dismissed that claim on that account, the Appellate Division said. Cohen v. Wallace & Minchenberg (April 17) "