Posts Categorized: Law Firms and Professional Ethics

Posted: March 23, 2017

Judiciary Law § 478 Claim Cannot Be Based on Attorney Conduct in Arbitration

On March 16, 2017, the First Department issued a decision in Doscher v. Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, 2017 NY Slip Op. 01973, holding that a Judiciary Law Section 478 claim could not be based on attorney conduct in an arbitration, explaining: Plaintiff also failed to state a cause of action under Judiciary Law §… Read more »

Posted: February 10, 2017

Failure to Inform Client of Retention of Co-Counsel Does Not Render Retainer Unenforceable

On February 9, 2017, the Court of Appeals issued a decision in Marin v. Constitution Realty, LLC, 2017 NY Slip Op. 01019, holding that the failure to inform a client of the retention of co-counsel did not render the retainer unenforceable. In Marin, the plaintiff’s attorney-of-record engaged co-counsel to assist her in a matter, agreeing… Read more »

Posted: February 2, 2017

Strategic Decisions, Even Flawed Ones, Generally Do Not Support a Malpractice Claim

On January 26, 2017, the First Department issued a decision in Brookwood Companies, Inc. v Alston & Bird LLP, 2017 NY Slip Op. 00535, affirming the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim, explaining: Decisions regarding the evidentiary support for a motion or the legal theory of a case are commonly strategic decisions and a client’s… Read more »

Posted: December 14, 2016

Law Firm Equitably Estopped from Asserting Defense Against Former Client

On December 6, 2016, the First Department issued a decision in Deep Woods Holdings LLC v. Pryor Cashman LLP, 2016 NY Slip Op. 08156, holding that a law firm was equitably estopped from arguing that an assignment did not include tort claims, explaining: [A]ccepting plaintiff’s affidavit in opposition to defendants’ motion as true, we find… Read more »

Posted: November 16, 2016

Malpractice Claim Arises When Malpractice Occurs Not When Malpractice Becomes Apparent

On October 31, 2016, Justice Ostrager of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in BLDG Christopher LLC v. Herrick Feinstein LLP, 2016 NY Slip Op. 32242(U), holding that a legal malpractice claim accrued when the malpractice occurred, not when it became apparent, explaining: Pursuant to CPLR § 214(6), the statute of limitations… Read more »

Posted: October 28, 2016

Attorney Properly Disqualified Under Attorney-Witness Rule

On October 19, 2016, the Second Department issued a decision in Bajohr v. Berg, 2016 NY Slip Op. 06797, affirming an order disqualifying an attorney under the attorney-witness rule, explaining: The disqualification of an attorney is a matter that rests within the sound discretion of the trial court. The advocate-witness rules contained in the Rules… Read more »

Posted: October 25, 2016

Decision to Disqualify Counsel in Arbitration is for Court, Not Arbitrator

On October 14, 2016, Justice Sherwood of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Rahmani v. Venture Capital Properties LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op. 31927(U), holding that the decision whether to disqualify counsel is for the court, not the arbitrator, explaining: [M]atters of attorney discipline are beyond the jurisdiction of arbitrators; issues… Read more »

Posted: September 3, 2016

Legal Malpractice Claim Based on Later-Reversed Ruling Upheld

On August 12, 2016, Justice Bransten of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Shenzhen Kehuaxing Industrial Ltd. v. Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, 2016 NY Slip Op. 31593(U), sustaining a legal malpractice claim based on a later-reversed administrative decision. In Shenzhen Kehuaxing Industrial, the defendant law firm submitted a questionnaire… Read more »

Posted: August 20, 2016

Law Firm Records Ordered Produced Under Crime-Fraud Exception

On August 11, 2016, Justice Bransten of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Fragin v. First Funds Holdings LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op. 31537(U), ordering the production of privileged documents under the crime-fraud exception, explaining: The central issue on this motion is whether the documents that Moses and Singer seeks to… Read more »

Posted: August 9, 2016

Disagreements With Counsel’s Professional Decisions on Trial Strategy Not Actionable

On July 28, 2016, Justice Scarpulla of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Bison Capital Corp. v. Hunton & Williams LLP, 2016 NY Slip Op. 31467(U), dismissing legal malpractice claims, explaining: In a legal malpractice claim seeking damages, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the attorney failed to exercise the ordinary reasonable… Read more »