Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Federal

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U.S. Supreme Court: State Courts Have Jurisdiction Over Patent-Related Legal Malpractice Claims

Posted in Federal
Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. ___ (2013) US Supreme Court: Underlying patent infringement suit FACTS:   Minton was awarded a patent covering a computer program and telecommunications network for the securities trading industry. He then filed a patent infringement action against the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and NASDAQ. He was represented by Attorney Gunn.… Continue Reading

US Supreme Court: Patent Based Legal Malpractice Cases Belong in State Court!

Posted in Case Within a Case, Federal
Gunn v. Minton, __ 568 U.S. ___ (February 20, 2013)  Underlying Case: Legal Malpractice based on patent law A MAJOR DEVELOPMENT  From the Syllabus of the Decision:  "No matter how the state courts resolve the hypothetical “case within a case,” the real-world result of the prior federal patent litigation will not change. Nor will allowing… Continue Reading

Fed’l 2nd Cir: We can Enjoin the Prosecution of a State Court Malpractice Action Arising From the Same Federal Action

Posted in Federal
Wyly et al v. Melvyn I. Weiss, Milberg Weiss, LLP et al  (U.S. 2d Cir. Ct of Appeals, October 10, 2012) Fed’l: 2d Circuit Ct. of Appeals Underlying Class Action settlement: Issue preclusion; Injunction against malpractice action FACTS: Clients brought a state court action in the Supreme Court of New York alleging legal malpractice and… Continue Reading

Fed. Cir.: Finding Federal Jurisdiction for a Legal Malpractice Claim

Posted in Federal, Intellectual Property
Warrior Sports, Inc. v. Dickinson Wright, P.L.L.C., 631 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2011) MI: Patent Law Student Contributor: Stefan Campagna Facts: The underlying action was brought by   a patent holder  whose attorneys filed an infringement suit involving patents  for  lacrosse sticks and heads.   The patent owner filed a malpractice suit against their former… Continue Reading

PA: Legal Malpractice Claim Sounds in Tort, Not Contract

Posted in Federal, Pennsylvania, Statute of Limitations
Knopick v. Connelly, U.S.D.C., M.D. Pa., January 25, 2010. Facts: Knopick retained the services of the Defendant attorney in or about March 2007 order to pursue a claim for legal malpractice against his former attorneys in a divorce proceeding.  The Defendant attorney, however, refused to pursue the action and advised that Knopick statute of limitations… 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

FRCP Rule 11 Liability for Lawyers

Posted in Federal, Intellectual Property
Hays v. Sony Corp. of America, 847 F. 2d 412 (7th Cir. 1988) Underlying copyright dispute Student Contributor: Clem Durham Facts: The plaintiffs, Stephanie Hays and Gail MacDonald, teach business courses at a public high school in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1982 or 1983 they prepared a manual for their students on how to operate… Continue Reading

NJ: No Privity, No Problem

Posted in Federal, New Jersey, Privity, Wills Trusts & Estates
Rathblott v. Levin, 697 F. Supp. 817 (D.C. N.J. 1988) NJ Underlying Probate Action Student Contributor: Christopher S. Henn Facts: The decedent, an attorney, suffered esophageal cancer for ten years until his passing. During his final days he executed several wills with the aid of the defendant, a partner in the decedent’s law firm. The… Continue Reading

IL: Suicide as a Proximate Cause of Lawyer Malpractice? No Way!

Posted in Federal, Illinois, Proximate Cause
Cleveland v. Rotman, 297 F. 3d 569 (7th Cir. 2002) IL: Underlying tax advice Student Contributor: Clem Durham Facts: In 1996 Cleveland retained Rotman for advice in resolving the tax dispute. At the time, Cleveland’s therapist informed Rotman of Cleveland’s poor financial status, his severe depression, and his suicidal tendencies. Rotman advised Cleveland that he… Continue Reading

IL: Lawyer Duty of Care to Adversaries–Privity No Bar to Liability

Posted in Commercial, Duties: Investigate, Federal, Illinois, Standard of Care
Greycas, Inc. v. Proud, 826 F. 2d 1560 (7th Cir. 1987) Underlying loan transaction–duty to adversary Student Contributor: Clem Durham Facts: Theodore S. Proud, Jr., a member of the Illinois bar who practices law in a suburb of Chicago, appeals from a judgment against him for $833,760, entered after a bench trial. The original plaintiff,… Continue Reading

DC: Brand New Claim Against Lawyers? “Tortious Involvement in Litigation”

Posted in Federal, Privity
Perry v. Scholar, U.S.D.C., District of Columbia, March 19, 2010. Facts: From 1985-2005, Perry, an accountant, served as a paid plan administrator for a pension plan.  At the same time, Scholar served as the plan’s attorney.  In or about 2006, the plan filed suit against Perry, Scholar and other defendants for breach of fiduciary duty… Continue Reading

PA: Circuit Court Comments on the Need for a Certificate of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Federal, Pennsylvania
Donnelly v. O’Malley & Langan. P.C., U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (March 16, 2010). Facts: Donnelly filed an action for legal malpractice against his former attorneys who had represented him in a workers’ compensation matter. He raised claims of invasion of privacy under state law, breach of contract, legal malpractice, and violation of his… 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

First Circuit: Emotional Distress Damages in Legal Malpractice

Posted in Damages, Federal, Massachusetts
Wagenmann v. Adams, 829 F.2d 196 (1st Cir. September 9, 1987). Facts:  After what appeared to be a series of misunderstandings between Wagenmann and his family members, Wagenmann was searched and arrested without a warrant, brought to a holding cell, and ultimately, involuntarily admitted to a mental hospital.  His court-appointed attorney, Healy, entered a general appearance… 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

PA: Certificate of Merit Required for Malpractice Claim Characterized as “Breach of Contract”

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Federal, Pennsylvania
Donnelly v. O’Malley & Langan, P.C., et al., United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, March 16, 2010 Facts:  Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed suit against his former attorneys who had represented him in his underlying workers compensation claim.  He alleged that his attorney has failed to adequately investigate his claim prior to negotiating a settlement,… Continue Reading

Attorney-Client Relationships When You Don’t Represent a Client

Posted in Duties: Confidentiality, Federal, Scope of Representation
U.S. v. Costanzo, 625 F.2d 465 (D.N.J., 1980) 3d Cir.  Underlying Criminal Defense (Attorney-Client Relationship and Duty of Confidentiality)  Student Contributor: Maninder (Meena) Saini Facts: Defendant (Costanzo), a government informant, was convicted of conspiracy to possess and possession of stolen checks. In the past, the defendant was represented by attorney (Frank Paglianite) on various civil and… Continue Reading

Malpractice Action Preempted by ERISA?

Posted in Federal, Ohio
Taylor v. UAW-GM Legal Services Plan, et al., United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, August 13, 2010. Facts: Plaintiff, a participant in the UAW-GM Legal Services Plan, filed the instant action for legal malpractice, breach of contract, and quantum meruit against the Plan after requesting and, allegedly, receiving negligent legal services from a Plan attorney. In bringing the three… Continue Reading

E.D.Pa. Attorneys Fees a Damages Offset in Legal Malpractice Actions?

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Federal, Litigation, Mitigation of Damages
Duncan v. Lord, 409 F.Supp. 687 (E.D. Pa, 1976) Underlying action: legal malpractice money damages Student Contributor: Ryan O’Donnell Facts: Attorney was found liable for malpractice. In a post trial brief, he asserted that the amount plaintiff would have recovered should be reduced in the malpractice action by the amount of what the attorney’s fee… Continue Reading
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