Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Conflicts of Interest

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NJ: Beware Mortgages on Client Property to Secure fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Fiduciary Duty, New Jersey
Petit-Clair v. Nelson, 782 A.2d 960 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2001) NJ: Attorneys fees  Student Contributor: Le-el D. Sinai Facts: The defendants in this case are business owners who hired the plaintiff attorney to represent their businesses in litigation. During litigation, defendants agreed to give the plaintiff attorney mortgage on their home in order… Continue Reading

NY: Conflict of Interest Waiver Not Sufficient to Support Summary Judgment

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Corporate Law, New York
Roller v. Walsh, 278 A.D. 2d 811 (App. Div. 4th Dept. 2000) NY: Business Law; Conflicts in transaction Student Contributor: Adam Gardin Facts: Defendant represented and assisted plaintiffs in the formation of two limited liability companies. Plaintiffs brought legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims against defendant, for “advancing the interests of the fourth member… Continue Reading

NY: “Substantial Relationship” as the Test for a Conflict of Interest

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, New York, Real Estate
Lightning Park, Inc. v. Wise Lerman & Katz, P.C., 197 A.D.2d 52 (1st Dep’t 1994). NY: Contract action; real estate development Student Contributor: Nicholas Tam Facts: Plaintiffs entered into a series of agreements to develop property on West 42nd Street in Manhattan. Plaintiff retained legal counsel from an attorney from the defendant law firm. The… Continue Reading

NY: Client Barred from Raising Malpractice Claim Twice Because of Res Judicata

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Damages, Family Law, New York
Montalbano, Condon, & Frank, PC v. Rodi, 54 A.D.3d 1012 (App. Div. 2d Dept. 2008) NY: Client subsequently barred from raising issues it failed to raise in first malpractice dispute. Student Contributor: Jared Levy Facts: The plaintiff law firm represented the defendant in the underlying matrimonial action. The defendant did not pay for the legal… Continue Reading

PA: Post-Withdrawal Liability

Posted in Commercial, Conflicts of Interest, Corporate Law, Pennsylvania
Capital Care Corp. v. Hunt 847 A.2d 75 (2004) PA: Underlying legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims Student Contributor: Christina Tsirkas FACTS: Client contracted with a group of British investors for the purchase of one of their subsidiaries. Together, client and these British investors planned to merge and purchase a large homecare business.… Continue Reading

IN: Fraudulent concealment does not stop the clock on statute of limitations

Posted in Commercial, Conflicts of Interest, Indiana, Statute of Limitations
Keesling v. Baker & Daniels, 571 N.E.2d 562 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991) IN: Underlying bankruptcy action Student Contributor: Jeff Cain Facts: Lawyers represented clients in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. When the lawyers discovered that they may have a conflict of interest with one of their creditors, they had the clients hire other lawyers to… Continue Reading

IN: Cops in Criminal Case Enjoy Joint Counsel

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Criminal Law, Indiana
Hanna v. State, 714 N.E.2d 1162 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999) IN: Underlying criminal case Student Contributor: Jeff Cain Facts: Six police officers were indicted in a criminal case. One officer was indicted for pointing a firearm, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing bodily injury, and criminal recklessness, among other crimes. The other five officers… Continue Reading

RLGL §122 Client Consent to a Conflict of Interest

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers
Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers (ALI, 2000) § 122. Client Consent to a Conflict of Interest (1) A lawyer may represent a client notwithstanding a conflict of interest prohibited by §121 if each affected client or former client gives informed consent to the lawyer’s representation. Informed consent requires that the client or former client have… Continue Reading

RLGL §§ 123-124 Imputation of Conflicts and Removing Imputations

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers
Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers (ALI, 2000) § 123. Imputation of a Conflict of Interest to an Affiliated Lawyer Unless all affected clients consent to the representation under the limitations and conditions provided in § 122 or unless imputation hereunder is removed as provided in § 124, the restrictions upon a lawyer imposed by… Continue Reading

NY: Hearst Heir in Legal Malpractice Claim Alleges Undue Influence

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Family Law, New York, Wills Trusts & Estates
Hearst v. Hearst, 50 A.D.3d 959, 857 N.Y.S.2d 596 (App. Div. 2d Dep’t 2008). NY: Underlying divorce case and undue influence claim Student Contributor: Nicole Milone Facts: John Randolph Hearst, Jr. (John) suffered a stroke in 1989. He was married to Barbara in 1990. When Barbara filed for divorce in 2004, John discovered that she… Continue Reading

GA: Suing for fees: A New Twist?

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Duties: Conflict Avoidance, Family Law, Georgia
Levine v. Television Cablecasting, Inc., 581 S.E.2d 734 (2003) GA: Underlying divorce action Student Contributor: Farah Shahidpour Facts: Wife inherited title to a farm. She later transferred title to Television Cablecasting (TCI), a company wholly owned by her husband. Wife sues husband for divorce, seeking title to the farm. Husband asked his longtime friend, Attorney… Continue Reading

NJ: Settle and Sue Continued, Puder Rejected

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, Conflicts of Interest, Damages, New Jersey, Proximate Cause, Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs), Standard of Care, Substantial Factor-Proximate Cause
Gorjuice Wrap, Inc. v. Okin, Hollander & De Luca, LLP, N.J. App. Div., January 12, 2011 (Unpub.) Facts:  Kang retained Attorney Watkins to assist her in negotiating a commercial lease with the Talmos.  Unbeknownst to Kang, Watkins had been a longtime attorney for the Talmos.  In fact, he had represented them in their purchase of… Continue Reading

7th Cir: A Claim, By Any Other Name…

Posted in Commercial, Conflicts of Interest, Corporate Law, Expert Witnesses, Federal, Fiduciary Duty, Legal Ethics, Litigation
Hoagland v. Sandberg, Phoenix & Von Gontard, 385 F. 3d 737 (2004) 7th Cir.: Underlying legal malpractice claim Student Contributor: Clem Durham Facts: The district court determined after a bench trial that Hoagland’s suit failed as a suit for legal malpractice. Hoagland doesn’t disagree. His grievance is that he should have been allowed either to… Continue Reading

Third Circuit: Violation of RPC 1.7 Does Not Require Automatic Disqualification

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Federal, Intellectual Property, New Jersey
Wyeth v. Abbott Laboratories, 692 F.Supp.2d 453 (D.N.J. 2010) Facts:  Wyeth brought a motion to disqualify Howrey LLP from representing Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc. ("BSC") in an underlying patent infringement action.  Wyeth alleged that it was a conflict of interest for Howrey to represent BSC against Wyeth in the underlying action, while representing Wyeth in a… Continue Reading

NY: Intra-Family Business Transactions:The Perils of Multiple Representation

Posted in Commercial, Conflicts of Interest, Corporate Law, New York
Sitar v. Sitar, 50 A.D.3d 667, 854 N.Y.S.2d 536 (2008) NY Underlying Commercial Transaction: Conflicts of Interest Student Contributor: Maninder (Meena) Saini Facts: Client (plaintiff) brought an action against attorney and attorney’s law firm (defendants), alleging legal malpractice. This action arose out of attorneys’ representation of plaintiff in the sale of the plaintiff’s business to his… Continue Reading

NY: Illusion of “Factual Issues” No Bar to Summary Judgment

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Corporate Law, New York
Benaquista v. Burke, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department, June 10, 2010 Facts: Plaintiff and his mother co-owned various corporations and the Defendant attorney represented the corporation in various matters. In December 2002, Plaintiff’s mother and corporate entities commenced a suit against Plaintiff for misappropriation of corporate funds. Defendant represented the mother… Continue Reading

Conflicts of Interest in Commercial Transactions: Representing Multiple Parties

Posted in Commercial, Conflicts of Interest, Duties: Conflict Avoidance, Iowa
Dessel v. Dessel and Donohue,431 N.W.2d 359 (Sup. Ct. 1988). Iowa underlying partnership dissolution Student contributor: Cheryl Neuman Facts: Two brothers, James and George, were partners in a business and wanted to dissolve the partnership. Both brothers retained one lawyer, the defendant in the present action. The agreement stated that James’ share of the partnership… Continue Reading

Breach of Fiduciary Duty: The Enduring Duty

Posted in California, Conflicts of Interest, Wills Trusts & Estates
Robert A. Borissoff v. Taylor & Faust et al., 33 Cal. 4th 523 (Cal. 2004) CA Underlying probate matters Student Contributor: Evan Michael Hess Facts: A special administrator in probate court retained the Defendants Taylor and Faust to provide assistance in tax matters relating to the execution of a will. Without authorization, the administrator borrowed approximately… Continue Reading

A New Trial Begins When Another Trial Ends

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Statute of Limitations, Texas
Sanchez v. Hastings, 898 S.W.2d 287 (Tex. 1995). TX: Underlying personal injury and wrongful death action; conflicts of interest; statute of limitations Student Contributor: Rudolfo Santos, Jr.* FACTS:   On June 8, 1984, Carlos Sanchez, husband of Graciela Sanchez, was killed on the job, when a portable crane mounted on his employer’s, Cedar Creek Fabrications, Inc., truck… Continue Reading

Disqualification for Conflicts of Interest

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Fiduciary Duty, Legal Ethics, Pennsylvania
Maritrans GP, Inc. v. Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, 529 Pa. 241 (Pa. 1992) Student Contributor: Melissa Goldberg Underlying: Motion to disqualify for  Conflict of Interest  Facts: Defendant represented Plaintiff in broad range of labor matters for well over a decade. During the course of their labor representation of Plaintiff, Defendant became familiar with Plaintiff’s operations… Continue Reading

NJ: Criminal Defense Conflicts

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Criminal Law, New Jersey
State of New Jersey v. Dennis Copling, 326 N.J. Super. 417, 741 A.2d 624 (1999) NJ: Underlying criminal defense Student Contributor: Evan Michael Hess Facts: Appellant was convicted of first degree conspiracy to commit murder, first degree murder, manslaughter, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and third degree unlawful possession of a handgun.… Continue Reading

PA: Injunctive Relief Available for Breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Legal Ethics, Pennsylvania, Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs)
Maritrans GP, Inc. v. Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, 529 Pa. 241; 602 A.2d 1277 (Pa., 1992) PA Underlying Legal Ethics Matter Student Contributor: Lisa Larato Facts: This legal malpractice action was commenced by the Plaintiff, Maritrans GP, Inc., former clients of the Defendant law firm, due to the law firm’s representation of the Plaintiffs’ competitors, entities… Continue Reading

PA: Conflicts and Malpractice in Commercial Transactions

Posted in Commercial, Conflicts of Interest, Duties: Conflict Avoidance, Fiduciary Duty, Pennsylvania
Fiorentino v. Rapoport,   693 A.2d 208 (Pa. Super. 1997). PA underlying sale of business interest : conflict of interest Student contributor: Cheryl Neuman Facts: Plaintiff and his business partner had established a restaurant servicing business. Ten years later, plaintiff and his partner decided to end their business relationship. They hired defendant lawyer to draft the… Continue Reading
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