Plaintiff enunciated a good legal malpractice claim, but failed to state a good damages claim for loss of sales value in real estate, In 83 Willow, LLC v Apollo 2020 NY Slip Op 05843 [187 AD3d 563] October 20, 2020
Appellate Division, First Department the court wrote:
“For purposes of the motion, defendant does not dispute that his alleged failure to advise plaintiff of the consequences of a contingency clause in its contract to sell property was negligent, but contends that plaintiff cannot demonstrate that his negligence was the “but for” causation of ascertainable damages. On this record, triable issues of fact exist as to whether, but for defendant’s failure to inform plaintiff’s principal that it could be locked into the sale agreement in perpetuity if it did not obtain municipal approval for redevelopment, it would not have entered into the contract as written and would have avoided litigation with the buyer who sued for specific performance (see Leggiadro, Ltd. v Winston & Strawn, LLP, 151 AD3d 413 [1st Dept 2017]; Escape Airports [USA], Inc. v Kent, Beatty & Gordon, LLP, 79 AD3d 437, 438-439 [1st Dept 2010]). Plaintiff’s alleged damages, as they relate to legal expenses defending the specific performance action, may be found to be proximately related to defendant’s negligent advice related to the issue of the contingency clause (see Rudolf v Shayne, Dachs, Stanisci, Corker & Sauer, 8 NY3d at 443).
However, plaintiff’s claims to recover damages based on the difference between the price it agreed to in settlement and either the original contract price or the fair market value of the property as of the date of closing were properly dismissed. The purpose of compensatory damages in attorney malpractice cases is to make the injured party whole. Plaintiff made a substantial profit on the deal, and its principal acknowledged that the settlement price was not much less than the contract price, taking into account a brokerage commission issue and that it did not have to continue incurring costs to obtain zoning approvals. Furthermore, plaintiff cannot recover legal fees it incurred to defend the slander of title matter and to prosecute the case to obtain the escrow funds since those suits are not causally related to defendant’s alleged negligence (see Pyne v Block & Assoc., 305 AD2d 213 [1st Dept 2003]).”