Commercial Division Blog

Posted: April 6, 2015 / Categories Commercial, Law Firms and Professional Ethics, Professional Malpractice

Failure to Plead Proximate Causation Fatal to Legal Malpractice Claim

On March 31, 2015, the First Department issued a decision in Candela Entertainment, Inc. v. Davis & Gilbert, LLP, 2015 NY Slip Op. 02712, dismissing a legal malpractice claim.

In Candela Entertainment, the trial court "granted defendant law firm's motion to dismiss the first cause of action, alleging legal malpractice, as asserted by the individual plaintiff, and denied dismissal of that cause of action as asserted by the corporate plaintiff." The First Department ruled on appeal that the malpractice claim should have been dismissed in its entirety, explaining:

Plaintiffs' allegations failed to establish that plaintiffs had a cause of action for legal malpractice. The pleadings, affidavits and documentary evidence submitted on the motion established that the law firm's alleged malpractice did not proximately cause plaintiffs any injury. Plaintiffs never alleged that they would have abandoned or postponed the assignment of film rights and attendant intellectual property from the individual plaintiff's nonparty, nonprofit corporation to the plaintiff corporation, had they been advised by the law firm that the film involved licensing issues necessitating licensor consents in order to be freely marketable. The individual plaintiff had secured the licenses for materials used in the film before the assignment, and plaintiffs do not allege that they were unable to secure consents after the assignment.

(Internal citations omitted).

We both bring and defend professional malpractice claims and other claims relating to the duties of professionals such as lawyers, accountants and architects to their clients. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Erik Groothuis at if you have questions regarding such claims or appeals of such claims.