Seaman v Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP 2019 NY Slip Op 07510 Decided on October 17, 2019 Appellate Division, First Department illustrates to bedrock principles of legal malpractice. The first is that of privity and the second is that of demonstrable technical mistakes v. dashed expectations. The attorneys working on the post-nup were not in privity and they did not make a technical mistake such as a bad acknowledgement.
“The course of conduct among the parties demonstrated by the documentary evidence, particularly the repeated communications from defendants to plaintiff clearly disclaiming an attorney-client relationship and advising plaintiff and his wife to consult independent counsel, refute plaintiff’s general allegations that Frunzi was his attorney in connection with the negotiation and execution of the postnuptial agreement in question (cf. Barrett v Goldstein, 161 AD3d 472 [1st Dept 2018]). Although defendants were required to use the ordinary degree of skill required of the legal community in drafting a postnuptial agreement, there is no claim that the agreement was ineffective due to a technical error or that Frunzi failed to accurately memorialize the terms of the parties’ agreement (compare Shanley v Welch, 31 AD3d 1127 [4th Dept 2006] and Shanley v Welch, 6 AD3d 1065 [4th Dept 2004] [defendant attorney failed to [*2]have settlement agreement properly acknowledged, so that it was ineffective]).”