New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog

Category Archives: Legal Malpractice Cases

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One Can’t Wait Too Long To Amend

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Amendments should be freely given, yet in Daniel R. Wotman & Assoc., PLLC v Chang 2017 NY Slip Op 02141 [148 AD3d 571]  March 23, 2017  Appellate Division, First Department the court below correctly decided not to exercise its discretion when the proposed amendment comes far into the case. “In this action commenced by plaintiff to recover legal… Continue Reading

The Issue Is Raised, But No Decision is Issued

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Judiciary Law 487 is tantalizingly raised, but not resolved in Solomon v Silverstein  2017 NY Slip Op 51400(U)   Decided on October 11, 2017  Supreme Court, Richmond County Minardo, J., the story of two sisters feuding over the care and assistance of their mother.  Mom deposited $ 40,000 and the question is whether the two daughters share or… Continue Reading

Several Straightforward Lessons from the First Department

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases, Uncategorized
O’Neal v Muchnick Golieb & Golieb, P.C.  2017 NY Slip Op 03125 [149 AD3d 636]  April 25, 2017  Appellate Division, First Department is notable for several terse lessons.  They were set forth in bullet fashion in the opinion: “The allegation that, while representing plaintiff in the assignment-of-lease negotiations, counsel secretly represented the counterparty so as to obtain favorable… Continue Reading

Suing The Expert When It All Goes Wrong

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The expert comes into trial and is subject to cross-examination.  When that cross-examination hits home, and the court precludes some of the expert testimony, or fails to qualify the expert, or the expert has to admit that it did not examine or consider some piece of evidence, then things will not go well for the… Continue Reading

Not Only Was It Not Malpractice, But…

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Deceased clients, deceased attorneys, and a disputed real estate transaction lead to Gourary v Green  2017 NY Slip Op 32158(U)  October 13, 2017  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 651932/10  Judge: Saliann Scarpulla.  At this point in the case, the attorneys have obtained dismissal of the legal malpractice claim, which has been affirmed by the AD1.  How might this affect… Continue Reading

Limited Retainer Agreements and Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
What a difference a sentence in the retainer agreement can make.  In Matz v Aboulafia Law Firm, LLC  2017 NY Slip Op 32147(U)  October 10, 2017  Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 155506/2016  Judge: Kathryn E. Freed, these words led to dismissal against the attorneys: [the Aboulafia Firm]  “is to do no further work on this claim other than… Continue Reading

Both Motions Fail; One Side Rejoices More Than The Other

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Ragunandan v Donado  2017 NY Slip Op 04306 [150 AD3d 1289]  May 31, 2017 Appellate Division, Second Department is a case in which both sides moved for summary judgment.  In Supreme Court, the attorney won.  On appeal, both lost.  Case continues; defendant is more unhappy than is plaintiff. “Ordered that the order is modified, on the law,… Continue Reading

“I Was Really Out Of It” Can Be A Valid Excuse

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
There are few really good excuses in life.  “The dog ate my ___” is one classic.  “Traffic” can serve as a reasonable excuse.  Temporary psychological inability to defend oneself does not seem like a good candidate, but in  Pierot v Leopold  2017 NY Slip Op 07154  Decided on October 11, 2017  Appellate Division, Second Department it succeeded. “The plaintiffs… Continue Reading

A Unique Cause of Action in a Legal Malpractice Setting

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
New, or unique causes of action rarely arise.  In Alrose Steinway, LLC v Jaspan Schlesinger, LLP 2017 NY Slip Op 32082(U) September 29, 2017  Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 151482/2017 we see a claim that failure to supervise a vastly experienced partner in an LLP  is negligence.  Supreme Court permits discovery on the issue, finding that it… Continue Reading

Suspended in Pennsylvania, Disbarred Here

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
This is a sordid story of an attorney gone wrong, seriously wrong.  Whether getting precluded while handling a legal malpractice case was the straw or not, a wake of devastation has been left in his wake. Matter of Pierre  2017 NY Slip Op 06999 Decided on October 5, 2017  Appellate Division, First Department  Per Curiam “Respondent Alex H. Pierre… Continue Reading

The Account Stated and Legal Malpractice

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Attorney fees are the driver of what could be a majority of legal malpractice cases.  CLE lecturers consistently warn of the attorney fee-legal malpractice reflex arc, and with good reason.  Glassman v Weinberg 2017 NY Slip Op 06885 Decided on October 3, 2017  Appellate Division, First Department is a prime example.  Here the account stated claim fails and the… Continue Reading

Near Privity and Unfounded Assertions in an Olshan Malpractice Case

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
In the world of big lending, a simple omission can cause large damages.  So it went in Scopia Windmill LP v Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP  2017 NY Slip Op 32031(U)  September 26, 2017 Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 650616/2016  Judge: Saliann Scarpulla.  Plaintiffs were investing in agriculture in order to get into the fracking business. Apparently a certain… Continue Reading

Limits on Continuous Representation

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
In one of the more confusing fact recitations we have come across, where Plaintiff in action 1 is Defendant in action 2 and where both parties are female, pronouns and party-designation does not help.  Whatever.  In Verkowitz v Ursprung  2017 NY Slip Op 06675  Decided on September 27, 2017  Appellate Division, Second Department the attorney represented the client in… Continue Reading

An Attempt To Spread the Blame Fails

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Defendant attorney in Baram v Person 2017 NY Slip Op 06625 Decided on September 26, 2017 Appellate Division, First Department  tried to spread the blame in two ways, each of which failed.  A third-party action was wholly wiped out.  His arguments that papers were insufficient similarly failed. “Plaintiffs alleged in their complaint that defendant attorney was negligent… Continue Reading

No Harm, No Foul in a Legal Malpractice Setting

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Here is a good example of a “no-damage” claim against an attorney.  The claim fails in this case for two reasons.  The first reason is that plaintiff has not been harmed.  No damages can be pled.  The second reason is that plaintiff cannot really say what the attorney might have done wrong. Miami Capital, LLC… Continue Reading

A Primer on Fraud, Discovery and the Statute of Limitations

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
In a fact pattern that could have come from a bar exam, Justice Bannon dissects the fraud-discovery-statute of limitations issues arising from a real-estate fraud scheme which is said to have involved attorneys, lenders, borrowers and developers. D. Penguin Bros., Ltd. v City Natl. Bank  2017 NY Slip Op 31926(U)  September 8, 2017 Supreme Court, New York… Continue Reading

One Difference Between Tort and Contract

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Professionals are often sued in both tort and contract.  So what is the difference?  One is a general wrong to the public and one is a specific wrong to a contracting party.  Judge Scarpulla discusses the issue in City of New York v Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. 2017 NY Slip Op 31906(U)  September 7, 2017  Supreme Court, New… Continue Reading

A Judiciary Law 487 Claim Not Dismissed

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Kimbrook Rte. 31, L.L.C. v Bass  2017 NY Slip Op 01083 [147 AD3d 1508]  February 10, 2017 is the Appellate Division, Fourth Department’s latest JL §487 case.  It reversed Supreme Court’s dismissal of the complaint. It has two significant lessons. “Plaintiffs commenced this Judiciary Law § 487 action against defendant based on her conduct when representing plaintiffs’ adversary… Continue Reading

The Relation-Back Principle

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
The statute of limitations has a haunting presence in legal malpractice. It both generates and limits legal malpractice cases.  It is a source of many cases, i.e. where the underlying case was not started on time.  The Statute also plays a limiting role in legal malpractice when clients do not understand or learn of the effects… Continue Reading

Some Lessons from Medical Malpractice Cases

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Medical Malpractice preceeded legal malpractice (the ancient joke being that you could not have medical malpractice until a lawyer was around to harass a doctor) and continuous treatment begat continuous representation.  Here, in Lewis v Rutkovsky  2017 NY Slip Op 06342  Decided on August 29, 2017  Appellate Division, First Department we see both an well-written discussion… Continue Reading

Architects Are Somehow Different

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases, Uncategorized
Sometimes flamboyant, often visionary, architects are different from the general masses.  Celebrity architects often have unique personal style, including unusual eyeglasses.  That all aside, architects are granted a higher standard of proof against them in negligence actions, as is described in New York Mar. & Gen. Ins. Co. v Perotto Assoc. Eng’g, P.C., 2017 NY Slip Op… Continue Reading

A New Hotel, A New Construction Method, An Old Problem

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
New York is full of real estate stories, and has been since Dutch times.  Whether it was acquisitions in Old Breuckelen, or in the narrow streets of the lower east side, real estate and development has always been a New York sort of activity. 180 Ludlow Dev. LLC v Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP   2017 NY Slip… Continue Reading

Money, Fashion, Greed and Cruelty

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases, Uncategorized
Legal malpractice cases encapsulate the entire world.  In this short story, money, fashion, greed and cruelty combine into a fairy tail of tragedy.  Oleg Cassini was wildly successful.  He died in 2006 with an estate of about $ 60 Million.  He had a child from an earlier marriage with actress Gene Tierney, which ended in… Continue Reading

No Expert, No Win.

Posted in Legal Malpractice Cases
Sure, you avoided motions to dismiss.  Sure, you avoided a motion for summary judgment.  Sure, you got a jury verdict.  Enough already?  Nope.  In Michael v He Gin Lee Architect Planner, PLLC  2017 NY Slip Op 06177  Decided on August 16, 2017, the  Appellate Division, Second Department looks at plaintiff’s jury verdict and reverses, then dismissing… Continue Reading
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