Armstrong v. Blank Rome LLP, Supreme Court, New York County, Index No. 651881/2013, Justice David B. Cohen, J., offers three lessons in a matrimonial – legal malpractice case.  The first is that such a case can survive the post-Katebi v. Fink landscape. The second is that an unexplained conflict of interest can lead to a good Judiciary Law § 487 claim and the third is that no fees may be obtained by an attorney guilty of negligence.  “Plaintiff alleges that the defendants concealed their relationship with Morgan Stanley.  She also alleges that the defendants’ interest in maintaining and encouraging that relationship resulted in them intentionally deceiving her into believing that the securities licenses acquired by her husband had no value.  She further alleges that defendants engaged in negotiations with the husband’s counsel during which, without her knowledge, they agreed to waive her right to value the licenses. They concealed this from her for several months, and then pressured her to execute a stipulation waiving her right to value the licenses, without explanation or discussion.”

“An attorney may not recover fees for legal services performed in a negligent manner” Tabner v, Drake, 9 AD3d 606,611 [3d Dept 2004] “A nonfrivolous claim of legal malpractice is, by nature, inextricably intertwined with a claim for fees for the same representation claimed to have been deficient.”