In this short decision, the Appellate Division recited the basic mantra of legal malpractice, but chose not to explain where Plaintiff failed. Little guidance to bar or counsel is offered in Muller v Schecter 2021 NY Slip Op 03326 Decided on May 26, 2021 Appellate Division, Second Department.
“”In an action to recover damages for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the attorney ‘failed to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession’ and that the attorney’s breach of this duty proximately caused plaintiff to sustain actual and ascertainable damages” (Rudolf v Shayne, Dachs, Stanisci, Corker & Sauer, 8 NY3d 438, 442, quoting McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d 295, 301-302; see Ferrigno v Jaghab, Jaghab & Jaghab, P.C., 152 AD3d 650, 652). “To establish causation, a plaintiff must show that he or she would have prevailed in the underlying action or would not have incurred any damages, but for the attorney’s negligence” (Wray v Mallilo & Grossman, 54 AD3d 328, 329; see Ferrigno [*2]v Jaghab, Jaghab & Jaghab, P.C., 152 AD3d at 652; Marino v Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salibury & Cambria, LLP, 87 AD3d 566).
Here, accepting as true the facts alleged in the complaint, and according the plaintiff the benefit of every favorable inference (see Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d at 87-88), the complaint failed to sufficiently allege a failure by the defendants to exercise the ordinary skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession and that any breach of such duty proximately caused damages (see Cali v Maio, 189 AD3d 1337). Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendants’ motion which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the complaint (see Janker v Silver, Forrester & Lesser, P.C., 135 AD3d 908, 910; Bua v Purcell & Ingrao, P.C., 99 AD3d 843, 847).”