What is a question of judgment, what is neglect of a case and what is ignorance of the rules in legal malpractice? Sometimes this is an easy question, other times, slightly more complex. in MCCORD -v.- O’NEILL,; No. 08-3096-cv ; Summary Order; UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT;2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 5139 we see the 2d Circuit’s general definitions;
"Construing all the facts in McCord’s favor, an independent review of the record shows that the district court properly granted O’Neill’s motion for summary judgment. "To state a claim for legal malpractice under New York law, a plaintiff must allege: (1) attorney negligence; (2) which is the proximate cause of a loss; and (3) actual damages." Achtman v. Kirby, McInerney & Squire, LLP, 464 F.3d 328, 337 (2d Cir. 2006). Under this standard, "[a] complaint that essentially alleges either an ‘error of judgment’ or a ‘selection of one among several reasonable courses of action’ fails to state a claim for malpractice." Id. (quoting Rosner v. Paley, 65 N.Y.2d 736, 481 N.E. 2d 553, 554, 492 N.Y.S.2d 13 (N.Y. 1985)). And, in general, "an attorney may only be held liable for ‘ignorance of the rules of practice, failure to comply with conditions precedent to suit, or for his neglect to prosecute or defend an action.’" Id. (quoting Bernstein v. Oppenheim & Co., 160 A.D.2d 428, 554 N.Y.S.2d 487, 489-90 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 1990)).
Here, McCord’s malpractice claim rested on the allegation that O’Neill’s failure to contact Ron Lawrence, another employee of McCord’s former employer, as a possible witness constituted [*4] negligence, and that, had Lawrence been a witness in his case, the district court would not have granted Airborne’s motion for judgment of a matter of law and dismissed McCord’s discrimination claims. O’Neill met his initial burden of demonstrating that his decision was a reasonable strategic choice by showing that the only information regarding Lawrence in McCord’s possession at the time was Lawrence’s "Summary of Disciplinary/Attendance History." This document showed that Lawrence, a Caucasian, had received much the same disciplinary treatment as McCord, undermining McCord’s contention that calling Lawrence would have enabled him to demonstrate that his employer treated him less favorably than a similarly situated employee outside of his protected group. See Mandell v. County of Suffolk, 316 F.3d 368, 379 (2d Cir. 2003). As the district court correctly observed, McCord adduced no evidence in response suggesting that O’Neill’s failure to contact Lawrence was negligent, or that this decision could have proximately resulted in the court’s unfavorable decision in Hill."