In Gad v Sherman 2018 NY Slip Op 02316 Decided on April 4, 2018 Appellate Division, Second Department we see the Second Department pass up an invitation to endorse a First Department concept that expressing “satisfaction” with the attorney’s work at an allocution settling a matrimonial action precludes a later legal malpractice case against the attorney. This concept was first enunciated in the First Department in Katebi v. Fink, 51 AD3d 424. (“Moreover, as to all defendants, the evidence establishes that when entering into the settlement of the divorce action, plaintiff acknowledged in open court that she was satisfied with counsels’ representation….”).
Here, differently, “In an order dated June 18, 2013, the Supreme Court, Westchester County, assigned the defendant to represent the plaintiff in an underlying matrimonial action commenced against the plaintiff by his now former wife (hereinafter the wife). On April 11, 2014, the parties to the matrimonial action appeared with their attorneys before the court and agreed to resolve all issues pending in the action. As a result, the wife’s counsel read an outline of the parties’ agreement into the record, which included the understanding that a formal written stipulation would follow. In addition, both the plaintiff and the wife, in response to questions from the court, indicated that they understood the terms and conditions as placed on the record and that they were satisfied with their legal representation. Thereafter, in May 2014, the plaintiff and the wife signed the written stipulation of settlement (hereinafter the stipulation).”
“” A claim for legal malpractice is viable, despite settlement of the underlying action, if it is alleged that settlement of the action was effectively compelled by the mistakes of counsel'” (Schiff v Sallah Law Firm, P.C., 128 AD3d 668, 669, quoting Tortura v Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo, P.C., 21 AD3d 1082, 1083; see Katz v Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C., 48 AD3d 640, 641).”
“Here, the documentary evidence submitted by the defendant, consisting of the transcript from the April 2014 court appearance, failed to utterly refute the plaintiff’s allegations of malpractice, thereby failing to conclusively establish a defense as a matter of law in this legal malpractice action (see Prott v Lewin & Baglio, LLP, 150 AD3d 908, 910; Palmieri v Biggiani, 108 AD3d 604, 607-6″