Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Damages

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VT: Legal Malpractice On Malice and Punitive Damages

Posted in Damages, Vermont
DeYoung v. Ruggiero, 185 Vt. 267 (2009). VT: Wills, Trusts & Estates Student Contributor: Peter J. Jannace FACTS: Plaintiffs hired defendant to close on the purchase of a house in Vermont. Plaintiffs later inherited a substantial amount; due to a communication breakdown between the decedent and the plaintiffs, plaintiffs hired defendant to ensure that plaintiffs… Continue Reading

NY: Legal Malpractice for Failure to Cancel a Real Estate Contract?

Posted in Damages, New York, Proximate Cause
Bells v. Foster, 83 A.D.3d 876, 922 N.Y.S.2d 124 (2011) NY: Underlying Real Estate Contract Cancellation Student Contributor: Alexis Trezza Facts: Defendant represented plaintiff in a real estate action. Plaintiff (purchaser) entered into a contract for the sale of certain real property. She was given forty-five days in which to secure a mortgage. In the… Continue Reading

PA & NJ: DAMAGES, UPDATED…

Posted in Damages, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Professional Malpractice: Recovering Damages in Legal Malpractice Cases: An Update on What Type of Award, and How Much a Client Can Expect (New Jersey Law Journal, January 21, 2013).    In the quickly evolving field of lawyer malpractice, one area that seems to get less attention than others is compensable damages. The question is: What… Continue Reading

CA: Actual value of the claim, not the possible value of the claim.

Posted in California, Damages
Loube v. Loube, 64 Cal. App. 4th 421, 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 906 (1998) CA: Partnership Law Student Contributor: Louis Dell Facts: Plaintiff’s hired law firm to bring an action against general partners in a real estate partnership. The plaintiff’s received a default judgment against the general partners exceeding $500,000. The partners filed a motion… Continue Reading

PA: One Giant Step for Legal Mal Plaintiffs in Pennsylvania

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Commercial, Damages, Defenses, Pennsylvania
Coleman v. Duane Morris, LLP (Superior Court of PA–Nov. 13, 2012) Underlying Matter: PA stock sale agreement to avoid personal tax liability; alleged breach of retainer contract claim for legal malpractice. Facts: Plaintiffs held ownership interests in two companies, BCA Management Inc. and BCA Professional Services, Inc. By 2006, the companies owed over $2 million… Continue Reading

N.J. An “Unpublished” Primer on Damages and Attorney Fees in Legal Malpractice Actions

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Damages, New Jersey, Real Estate
Nix v. Verp, NJ App Div 2-18-2011 (Not approved for Publication). Underlying matter:  NJ Real estate closing; inappropriate title search resulting in legal malpractice action Ed. Note: We tend to diminish the value of unpublished decisions because of their limited precedential value. But make no mistake. As a means of getting a quick primer on… Continue Reading

NY: No Non-Pecuniary Damages for Botched Criminal Defense

Posted in Damages, New York
Dombrowski v. Bulson, 19 N.Y.3d 347, 948 N.Y.S.2d208 (Ct.of Appeals, 2012)  NY: Underlying Criminal Defense; Ineffective Assistance of Counsel FACTS: Plaintiff convicted in New York of attempted rape and endangering the welfare of a child. His motion to vacate the conviction on the grounds of "ineffective assistance of counsel" is denied without a hearing. Plaintiff… Continue Reading

FL: Beware Before Firing Your Lawyer

Posted in Damages, Florida, Litigation
Dadic v. Schneider, 722 So.2d 921 (Fla. App. 1998) Fla. App: Underlying Foreclosure  Student Contributor: Ross Eisenberg Facts: Plaintiffs filed a complaint against their lawyer alleging one count of legal malpractice based on his failure to carry out their "specific instruction[s]" with respect to the litigation. They also made a claim for malpractice based on… Continue Reading

NY: In A Legal Malpractice Case, Plaintiff Must Show “Actual Loss”

Posted in Damages, New York
Evangelista v. Slatt, 20 AD 3d 349 (1st Dept. 2005) NY: Underlying Misappropriation Action Student Contributor: Mordechai Goldenberg Facts: Plaintiff sued a former employee to recover $7 million he allegedly misappropriated. Due to the former employee’s failure to answer the complaint, Plaintiff obtained a default order directing that the matter be set down for an… Continue Reading

NY: Attorney’s Selection of One Among Several Reasonable Courses of Action Is Not Malpractice

Posted in Damages, New York, Proximate Cause
Holschauer v. Fisher, 5 AD 3d 553 (2nd Dept. 2004) NY: Underlying Professional Misconduct Hearing Student Contributor: Mordechai Goldenberg Facts: Plaintiff is a physician who was charged with professional misconduct by the New York State Department of Health Office of Professional Medical Conduct. After the disciplinary hearing began, the defendant attorney negotiated a settlement with… 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

NJ: The Obligatory Defense of Legal Malpractice to Claims for Nonpayment of Attorney’s Fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Commercial, Damages, Litigation, New Jersey
Glass v. Suburban Restoration Co., Inc., 317 N.J. Super. 574, 722 A.2d 944 (App. Div. 1998). NJ Underlying Attorney’s Fee Dispute Student Contributor: Michelle Guardado Facts: Plaintiff attorney provided legal services for defendant for about eight months until defendant discharged plaintiff. During the period plaintiff represented defendant she submitted bills for legal services and disbursements.… Continue Reading

NJ: Emotional Distress Claims Acceptable When There Is Loss of Liberty

Posted in Criminal Law, Damages, Federal, New Jersey
Lawson v. Nugent, 702 F. Supp. 91 (D.N.J. 1988) NJ: Underlying criminal conviction matter Student Contributor: Laura Binski Facts: The client was indicted for robbery of a Post Office and hired the lawyer to represent him. The client claims that the lawyer encouraged him to plead guilty to all three counts of the indictment without… Continue Reading

7th Cir. No harm, no malpractice, even if the underlying settlement is “coerced”.

Posted in Damages, Defenses, Federal, Labor & Employent, Litigation, Torts/Personal Injury, Wisconsin
McKnight v. Dean, 270 F. 3d 513 Underlying legal malpractice action Student Contributor: Clem Durham Facts: A dispute then arose between McKnight and Gingras, the lawyer who had handled the case in the district court, concerning attorneys’ fees. This dispute led Gingras to sue McKnight in a Wisconsin state court. One of McKnight’s defenses in… Continue Reading

WV: No Proximate Cause = No Damages

Posted in Damages, Proximate Cause, Real Estate, West Virginia
Keister v. Talbott, 182 W.Va. 745, 391 S.E.2d 895 (W.Va. 1990) WV: Underlying real estate conveyance (mineral rights) Student Contributor: Karen Dindayal Facts: Keister retained Webster County attorney, William Talbott, to examine title to two tracts of land, specifically the ownership of the surface and coal and mining rights. Talbot drafted a general warranty deed on… Continue Reading

PA: Speculative and Remote Claims Do Not Amount to a Cause of Action for Legal Malpractice

Posted in Damages, Pennsylvania, Torts/Personal Injury
Pashak v. Barish, 303 Pa. Super. 559, 450 A.2d 67 (1982). PA: Underlying negligence action Student Contributor: Laura Binski Facts: Mr. Pashak was injured working as a longshoreman. He sued the ship’s owner for negligence, claiming that the ship was unseaworthy. Mr. Pashak hired some lawyers who recommended that he settle the case out of… Continue Reading

Title: AL: Punitive Damages in a Legal Malpractice Case

Posted in Alabama, Damages, Torts/Personal Injury
Oliver v. Towns, 738 So.2d 798 (1999). AL: Underlying personal injury action Student Contributor: Farah Shahidpour Facts: Client hired Attorney to represent her in a personal injury action after being involved in an automobile accident. She signed a contingency fee contract that provided for the Attorney to receive 40% of any settlement, in return for… Continue Reading

MI:Emotional Distress In Legal Malpractice Claim Usually Not Allowed, But then again…

Posted in Damages, Michigan, Torts/Personal Injury
Lickteig v Alderson, Ondov, Leonard, & Sween, P.A. 556 N.W.2d 557 MI: Underlying damages for emotional distress in a claim for legal malpractice Student Contributor: Meghan Jean Facts: Attorneys were admittedly negligent in the handling of the client, Lickteig’s case. At arbitration, Lickteig was awarded $45,000 in general damages, and $45,000 in emotional distress damages.… Continue Reading

TX: Collectibility, An Essential Element of Legal Malpractice Actions

Posted in Damages, Texas
Webb v. Brad Stockford, Texas Court of Appeals, January 10, 2011.  Facts: Plaintiffs filed an action for malpractice against the Defendant attorney for allegedly mishandling their suit against a seller and his real estate agent in connection with plaintiffs’ purchase of their house.  The Defendant attorney contended, among other things, that the malpractice suit ought… 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
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