Commercial Division Blog

Posted: October 21, 2017 / Categories Commercial, Law Firms and Professional Ethics, Professional Malpractice

Court Allows Malpractice Claim Against Firm for Failure to Supervise Partner Go Forward

On September 29, 2017, Justice Masley of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Alrose Steinway, LLC v. Jaspan Schlesinger, LLP, 2017 NY Slip Op. 32082(U), allowing a malpractice claim to go forward based on the firm's alleged failure to supervise one of its partners, explaining:

In addition to malpractice, plaintiff asserts an interesting claim of failure to supervise in its third cause of action against defendants Jaspan Schlesinger LLP and Steven Schlesinger, the managing partner of the firm. There is no vicarious liability for a general partner in an LLP. New York Partnership Law§ 26 (b). Although plaintiff argues that Mr. Schlesinger is liable under New York Partnership Law § 26(c)(i), which provides that each partner shall be personally and fully liable and accountable for any negligent or wrongful act or misconduct committed by him or her or by any person under his or her direct supervision and control while rendering professional services on behalf of such registered limited liability partnership, it is undisputed that Mr.
Schlesinger never communicated with plaintiff nor supervised Mr. Epstein, another partner. Thus, this causes of action against Mr. Schlesinger are dismissed.

Plaintiff also advances the argument that the absence of any supervisory structure of partners at the firm is malpractice under Partnership Law§ 26 (c) (i). It argues that the law firm, as a whole, has an obligation to make reasonable efforts to ensure that its partners are appropriately supervised. Under this theory, Mr. Epstein's status as a partner and 39 years of experience is irrelevant. At this early stage, plaintiff may explore this unique theory against the firm alone.

Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).

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.