Brothers-in-law can be a problem to a successful car sales operation as is sadly set forth in Brausch v Devery  2018 NY Slip Op 31929(U) August 7, 2018  Supreme Court, Suffolk County
Docket Number: 11-28918  Judge: Denise F. Molia.  Plaintiff has a nice little used car lot and allows his brother-in-law to help him run it.  When he has to, Plaintiff tells others that the brother-in-law is the COO.  Nice title for a used-car salesman.  Everything grinds to the end when checks start to be forged, and the mother-in-law claims that she lent money to the used car lot.  It’s even worse when the law firm forgets to file a reply to a counterclaim and the answer/reply is stricken.

“Initially. the Devery defendants contend that the plain ti ff lacks standing to bring this action. as the claims against the third-party defendants in the underlying action belonged solely to A&A. and that he does not have standing to assert claims of legal malpractice on behalf or A&A. With respect to standing. It is u threshold determination. resting in part on policy considerations. that a person should be allowed access to the courts to adjudicate the merits of a particular dispute that satisfies the other justiciability criteria (see Society of Plastics Industries v. County  of Suffolk. 77 NY2d 761. 570 NYS2d 778 [ 19911). .. Standing … requires an interest in the claim at issue in the lawsuit that the lav,1 wi II recognize as a sufficient predicate for determining the issue at the litigant’s rcquc.!st … Without … standing. a party lacks authority to sue” (Caprer v. Nussbaum. 36 AD3d 176, 825 NYS2d 55 [2d Dept 2006] [internal citations and quotation marks omitted]). It is well settled that. in addition to the elements discussed above the elements or a cause of action for legal malpractice include the existence or an attorney-client relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant.  Lindsay v, Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP.129 AD3d 790. 780 N’YS3d 124 (2d Dept 2015)  Terio , Spodek. 63 AD3d 719, 880 NYS2d 679; 2d Dept 2009) and that the relationship must exist at the time of the alleged malpractice (Tabner v. Drake, 9 AD3d 606, 780 NYS2d 85 [3d Dept 2004). Here,  it is undisputed that the plaintiff retained the Dcvner firm to reprcscnt his corporation and him indivually and that said firm remained the attorney of record at all times relevant herein. The issue of the relative culpability of the defendants docs not alter these basic fact that the plaintiff had an attornye-client relationship with Devery and the Devary firm.”