Legal Malpractice Research, Articles and Publications

Basic Elements of a Legal Malpractice Case

In every type of lawsuit, a opens in a new windowplaintiff (commonly known as the person bringing the case) must make certain allegations of fact against a opens in a new windowdefendant (the party being sued) and tie those allegations of fact to violations of specific laws or rules. Those violations could be based upon a particular statute or rule or section of law, or common law generally (some times the two overlap as well). If the plaintiff cannot prove that the defendant committed an “actionable” wrong, then the lawsuit will be dismissed by the court – either because there is a failure of proof or because the allegations of proof do not amount to a violation of law as interpreted by the court…. (more)

Client Cannot Sue His Lawyer for Nonpecuniary Damages

In the recent decision of Dombrowski v. Bulson, 2012 NY Slip Op. 04203 [May 31, 2012], the New York State Court of Appeals dealt with an open issue in the area of legal malpractice, namely: whether a former client may recover opens in a new windownonpecuniary damages in a law suit brought against his attorney for legal malpractice arising from the client’s alleged wrongful incarceration….(more)

Harsh Rule of the Statute of Limitations in Legal Malpractice Cases

The term “ opens in a new windowstatute of limitations” refers to the period of time in which a plaintiff may bring a lawsuit against a defendant for a claim. Different types of cases are governed by different statute of limitations period (for instance, six years for contract actions in New York, three years for opens in a new windowtort actions in New York). The effect of the statute of limitations is that a plaintiff bringing a lawsuit after that period of time has expired is barred from bringing it, and the lawsuit will be dismissed as untimely…. (more)

How the “Continuous Representation” Doctrine Helps Injured Clients

(From Law Currents, Spring 2008)
In legal matters, there is an attorney-client relationship from the moment that the attorney is consulted by the client until the matter concludes. If, during the term of this relationship, the attorney was negligent or commits malpractice in the matter, the client may have a claim against the attorney for legal malpractice. Sometimes, the malpractice is committed at the early stages of litigation and not at the conclusion; for instance, an action may have started in Year 1, malpractice was committed in Year 2, and the action concludes in Year 6. The question then becomes whether or not the client may pursue a claim against the attorney for the malpractice committed in Year 2, when the statute of limitations period may have already passed…. (more)

Judiciary Law Section 487

There is a special statute designed to punish attorneys who commit fraud upon the court, other parties or their clients, Judiciary Law Section 487….(more)

New York State Court of Appeals adopts “likely to succeed” standard in legal malpractice cases.

The New York State Court of Appeals decided an issue of first impression in New York State concerning an issue that arises in legal malpractice cases. In Grace v. Law, [October 21, 2014], the Court had to decide whether a client’s failure to pursue an appeal in the original, underlying lawsuit (which failed) bars him from pursuing a legal malpractice case against the attorney who lost the case….(more)

Proximate Cause and Attorney Malpractice

There is a legal concept in personal injury law called “ opens in a new windowproximate cause.” The big question in holding someone liable for the injuries of another is: “Was the defendant’s action the proximate cause of the injury sustained by the plaintiff?” In other words, was it the defendant’s fault or not…. (more)

Striking the Affirmative Defense of Statute of Limitations in a Legal Malpractice Action

When a former client sues his attorney for legal malpractice, the defendant-attorney/law firm will almost invariably put forward, as part of its defense of the law suit, the Affirmative Defense of Statute of Limitations. In New York State, the period in which an attorney may be sued (whether for a tort [civil wrong] or breach of contract) is generally three (3) years from the date of malpractice. If the client does not sue the attorney/law firm within the applicable Statute of Limitations period, then the case is “time barred” and may be dismissed as having been filed too late…. (more)

Wrong Side of the Tracks Costs Law Firm $800,000

(From Law Currents, Winter 2011)
The opens in a new windowLong Island Railroad (LIRR) leased one of its old rail yards in Queens to a recycling company. One of the recycling company’s employees was working the late shift on a rainy evening in 2003. That rainy night, he was assigned the task of welding on a portion of the metal fence surrounding the yard with an acetylene torch. He got up on a ladder, climbed up several rungs, and started to weld. At that point, the injured worker got a shock from the welding equipment. The ladder then shifted in the mud and he fell to the ground, suffering severe injuries. Since that incident, he was unable to work, having become disabled, and having had several surgeries to his back and knee….(more)