Daniel R. Wotman & Assoc., PLLC v Chang   2017 NY Slip Op 02141  Decided on March 23, 2017  Appellate Division, First Department is a 2010 case which has finally reached its final resting place.  What started as a fee collection case ends as a fee collection case, with the legal malpractice issues dismissed and affirmed on appeal.

“In this action commenced by plaintiff to recover legal fees, defendant asserted a counterclaim for legal malpractice. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment dismissing that counter-claim and in response, defendant cross-moved for leave to amend the counterclaim to expand and alter her theory of recovery.

Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying defendant leave to amend her legal malpractice counterclaim. The motion for leave to amend came years after the counterclaim was first asserted and well after the conclusion of discovery. Moreover, defendant failed to articulate a reasonable excuse for her delay in amending the counterclaim and was unquestionably in possession of all the facts she needed to seek leave at an earlier time in the litigation (see Holliday v Hudson Armored Car & Courier Serv., 301 AD2d 392 [1st Dept 2003], lv dismissed, denied 100 NY2d 636 [2003]).

The motion court also properly granted plaintiff summary judgment dismissing the counterclaim. Defendant’s proof failed to demonstrate that plaintiff was negligent in any way (Brooks v Lewin, 21 AD3d 731, 734 [1st Dept 2005], lv denied 6 NY3d 713 [2006]).”