New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

Category Archives: Legal Malpractice Cases

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Excessive Claims Weeded Out for Plaintiff

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Cascardo v Dratel  2019 NY Slip Op 02957 Decided on April 18, 2019 Appellate Division, First Department is a combination legal malpractice, excessive billing, fraud breach of fiduciary duty case which had several claims weeded out for this plaintiff. “Plaintiff’s fraud claim should have been dismissed because the complaint did not sufficiently plead justifiable reliance upon defendant’s claim… Continue Reading

Multitudo Imperitorum Perdit Curiam

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
This lovely 1500 year old phrase starts the case of Long Island Real Props., Ltd. v US Bank N.A.  2019 NY Slip Op 30954(U)  April 2, 2019  Supreme Court, Suffolk County  Docket Number: 621122/2017.   Judge James Hudson quotes the medieval writer Tribonian to the effect that “A great number of unskilled practitioners ruins a Court. (2 Inst. 219)  He then… Continue Reading

A Limited Retainer That Worked

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Professionals take on work, and more specifically responsibilities.  Some come from the general tort requirement to act reasonably towards the public, some arise from contract.  Lam v 933 60th St. Realty Inc.    2019 NY Slip Op 30707(U) March 20, 2019 Supreme Court, Kings County Docket Number: 514453/2018 Judge: Debra Silber is an example of how a carefully drafted retainer agreement/contract… Continue Reading

Strategic Choices and Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Big cases and little cases alike are subject to the unique legal malpractice “strategic choice” doctrine as well as a speculation analysis.  Bison Capital Corporation v. Hunton & Williams, Supreme Court, New York County, Scarpulla, J. is today’s example.  “Bison and its president, Edwin E. Wells, Jr. (“Wells”) entered into a contract with nonparty ATP Oil and… Continue Reading

As Written or As Interpreted?

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Cortland Apts., LLC v Simbari Design Architecture, PLLC  2019 NY Slip Op 50331(U) Decided on March 19, 2019 Supreme Court, Cortland County Guy, J. is a companion case to Universe Ave. LLC v. Simbari Design Architecture PLLC and raises an interesting question:  When a professional opines that work conforms to a statute is it negligence when the governmental authority charged… Continue Reading

Limited Retainers Are Permissible; Multiple Representations, Too.

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The primary lesson to be learned from Salans LLP v VBH Props. S.R.L.  2019 NY Slip Op 02611 Decided on April 4, 2019 Appellate Division, First Department is that courts will deem a studied prediction on what would have happened if counsel had actually gone to court and made certain arguments is that they will almost always call it… Continue Reading

Gone Like That!

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Gengo v Storms   2019 NY Slip Op 02504  Decided on April 3, 2019 Appellate Division, Second Department displays the importance of the nuts and bolts of litigation.  Commencing the action and serving the defendant is the base of any litigation, and here, it went south very quickly. “On October 23, 2016, the plaintiff commenced this action sounding… Continue Reading

Architect Contracts and the Scope of Work

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Scope of work is a term of art used by architects; it is similarly a term of art applied to architect contracts and the potential for professional malpractice claims against them.  University Ave., LLC v Simbari Design Architecture, PLLC  2019 NY Slip Op 50330(U)  Decided on March 19, 2019  Supreme Court, Cortland County  Guy, J. is a fine example.  What… Continue Reading

Privity and Near Privity in a Professional Malpractice Setting

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
On Lam v Arnold Montag Architect  2019 NY Slip Op 30712(U)  March 13, 2019 Supreme Court, Kings County Docket Number: 522413/2017 Judge: Pamela L. Fisher discusses the relationship between plaintiffs and sub-contractors of their architects and other professionals, and the requirement of privity in a breach of contract case. “On March 4, 2013, BTE entered into a contract with nonparty… Continue Reading

The All-mighty Account Stated Rule

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Attorney billing is the center of the attorney world, and the greatest part of attorney-client litigation arises from or concerns attorney billing.  Ledyard v Bical  2019 NY Slip Op 30739(U)  March 20, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 150470/2018  Judge: Arthur F. Engoron is an excellent example.  Arrested, indicted and shown the evidence by the EDNY, plaintiff pled guilty. … Continue Reading

No Continuous Representation, Not Much Explanation

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Continuous representation tolls the statute of limitations, and requires actual work, a mutual understanding between client and attorney of the need for the actual work along with a mutual relationship of trust and confidence.  In RJR Mech. Inc. v Ruvoldt  2019 NY Slip Op 01844 Decided on March 14, 2019 Appellate Division, First Department some of that… Continue Reading

The Satisfaction Question

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Is the client satisfied with the settlement is different from whether the client is “satisfied with the representation” which, in the past few years has taken on a totemic power to kill legal malpractice cases.  Clients, when/if asked at the settlement allocution whether they are satisfied with their attorney’s representation and required to answer.  If… Continue Reading

The Attorney Client Privilege in a Litigation Setting

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The attorney client privilege is sacrosanct, no?  Well, not really.  Heth v Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP  2019 NY Slip Op 30555(U)  March 5, 2019  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 650379/2015  Judge: Andrew Borrok demonstrates what happens when the client possibly  discusses how attorney 1 is handling the case with attorney 2. “As more fully set forth on… Continue Reading

Attorney Disqualification in a Legal Malpractice Setting

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Akin to a pro-se situation, when law firms defend themselves in a legal malpractice setting they run the risk of attorney disqualification on the attorney-witness rule. Quadrozzi v Castro  2019 NY Slip Op 30550(U)  March 5, 2019  Supreme Court, New York  County Docket Number: 151675/2018 Judge: Frank P. Nervo is a good example. “Plaintiffs seek to disqualify defense counsel on… Continue Reading

Experts Sued In Inexpert Fashion

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The experts were hired, and now plaintiff (whose attorney hired them) says that they were inexpert.  Marks Paneth LLP v Economic Alchemy LLC     2019 NY Slip Op 30532(U)  February 26, 2019  Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 60427/2017 Judge: Lucy Billings is determined on sufficiency of pleading grounds.  The fraud claim fails. “Plaintiff Marks Paneth LLP seeks damages from… Continue Reading

Damages or Speculation?

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Departure is the first question in legal malpractice; it is the one that almost everyone gets right.  What is often shocking to the client is that judges (and then juries) scrutinize the remaining three elements (proximate cause, “but for” causation and ascertainable damages) in reaching a decision. Lisi v Lowenstein Sandler LLP  2019 NY Slip Op… Continue Reading

How Many Elements Does Judiciary Law 487 Have?

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
There is great dispute over the elements of Judiciary Law § 487.  Is it attempted deceit or successful deceit?  Does it require egregious conduct, or chronic conduct or chronic and extreme conduct or a pattern of delinquency? Schwartzman v Pliskin, Rubano, Baum & Vitulli  2019 NY Slip Op 30419(U)  January 14, 2019  Supreme Court, Queens County  Docket Number: 714510/2017  Judge: Joseph… Continue Reading

Interstate Litigation and Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Candero v Del Virginia  2019 NY Slip Op 30436(U)  February 26, 2019  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 151983/2018  Judge: Barbara Jaffe discusses the various relationships and potential legal malpractice in a case which traveled from New York to Florida, and in which the lawfirms kept changing shape. “Relying on the advice of third-party plaintiff Del Virginia, plaintiffs initiated… Continue Reading

Continuous Architectural Representation and the Statute of Limitations

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Architectural malpractice would normally be governed by CPLR 214(6) and have a three year statute of limitations.  In Architect v Kodsi, 2019 NY Slip Op 01398  Decided on February 27, 2019  Appellate Division, Second Department the contract called for a 1 year contractual statute of limitations.  However, as we see below, that 1 year period is subject to… Continue Reading

Experts Needed Here!

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Plaintiffs rarely obtain partial summary judgment other than in strict liability or labor law cases.  They almost never win in a legal malpractice setting, and Eurotech Constr. Corp. v Fischetti & Pesce, LLP  2019 NY Slip Op 01366  Decided on February 26, 2019  Appellate Division, First Department is no exception.  The Court was unable to determine, as a matter… Continue Reading

A Dictionary of Causes of Action Regarding Attorneys

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Traditionally, plaintiffs plead a triumvirate of claims against attorneys consisting of legal malpractice, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.  Additional claims are rarely seen.  In Ramirez v Donado Law Firm, P.C.  2019 NY Slip Op 01244  Decided on February 20, 2019 the Appellate Division, Second Department goes through a long list of claims and gives the… Continue Reading
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