Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Affidavit/Certificate of Merit

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GA: To Survive Summary Judgment Client Must be Specific as to Attorney’s Negligence

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Commercial, Georgia, Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs), Standard of Care
Roberts v. Langdale, 363 S.E.2d 591 (Ga. App. 1987) GA: Promissory Notes; Personal Guarantees Student Contributor: Paul Barnhill FACTS: Client hired Attorney in connection with a business deal involving a company called Versa-Tile. Versa-Tile issued two promissory notes in favor of The First National Bank of Valdosta, and Client became a personal guarantor on these… Continue Reading

PA: Caution: The Dangers of a Defective Certificate of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Pennsylvania
Parkway Corp. v. Edelstein, 2004 PA Super. 307, 861 A.2d 264 (2004). Student Contributor: Christine Maharaj PA: Underlying Professional Liability Action Facts: Attorneys filed a complaint in a wrongful death action but did not include a certificate of merit nor did attorneys request an extension for the filing period. Defense counsel successfully moved for judgment… Continue Reading

NJ: Affidavit of Merit Statute and Lateness

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, New Jersey
Stoecker v. Echevarria, 975 A. 2d 975 – NJ: Appellate Div. 2009 Student Contributor: Christine Maharaj NJ: Underlying Real Estate Transaction Facts: Plaintiff brought malpractice claim against defendant (attorney) but served affidavit of merit more than 120 days after defendant’s amended answer. The trial court dismissed plaintiff’s claim for failure to comply with the affidavit… 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

NJ: Court Refuses to Apply Common Knowledge Exception, Dismisses Claim for Failure to Provide Affidavit of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Family Law, New Jersey
Prosser v. Zeldin, NJ App. Div., December 30, 2010. Facts: Plaintiff filed suit against his attorney in the underlying divorce action.  Plaintiff alleged he was "coerced into agreeing" to the divorce settlement and that "[d]uring the entire divorce process [he told Zeldin] that there was nothing in [a] public record that served as a legal document… Continue Reading

AL: “Blatant Error” Excused in Absence of Causation and Damages

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Alabama, But for-Proximate Cause, Case Within a Case, Damages, Duties: Communicate, Expert Witnesses, Substantial Factor-Proximate Cause
Guyton v. Hunt, Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama, July 23, 2010. Facts:  Guyton was convicted of sexually abusing a minor.  After his conviction, he retained Hunt to prepare and file a motion for new trial, and if that was denied, file an appeal.  Hunt’s motion for a new trial was denied, but he never advised… Continue Reading

GA: No Affidavit of Merit for Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Georgia
Crosby v. Pittman, Court of Appeals of Georgia, August 20, 2010.  Facts:  Crosby retained Pittman to represent him with respect to a traffic citation.  Pittman advised Crosby that he would need to pay $350 to resolve the citation.  Crosby gave Pittman $350, only to learn that the citation was for $300 and it had never actually… Continue Reading

PA: No Privity, No Certificate of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Pennsylvania, Privity
Sabella v. Estate of Milides, 992 A.2d 180 (Pa. Superior March 25, 2010).  Facts:  The representatives of the Estate of Milides commenced an action arguing that Sabella participated in a fraudulent transfer of property to avoid satisfaction of a substantial judgment. Sabella filed preliminary objections.  Shortly thereafter, the Estate, through its attorney, filed a praecipe (writ) for… 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

NJ: Settle and Sue – Without an Affidavit of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit
Chen v. LaRocca, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, April 28, 2010 Facts:  Plaintiff was represented by the Defendant attorney in her underlying divorce action.  Prior to trial, Plaintiff and her husband entered into a settlement agreement that was incorporated in their dual final judgment of divorce. After entering into the settlement, Plaintiff filed suit… Continue Reading

Third Circuit: Violation of Statute Limitations is Not a Common Knowledge Exception

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Statute of Limitations
Thakar v. Tan, D.N.J., March 25, 2010 Facts:  Dr. Thakar sued four attorneys for alleged malpractice and conspiracy in representing him in state and federal actions against JFK Medical Group. The attorneys who were timely served with Thakar’s summons and complaint eventually moved to dismiss for failure to provide an affidavit under N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-27.  Thakar argued… Continue Reading

NJ Affidavit of Merit: Who Can Sign It?

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit
Scott v. Calpin, U.S. District Court, New Jersey, March 2, 2010 Facts:  The Defendant attorney moved to dismiss a professional negligence action against him for failure to submit an Affidavit of Merit pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-27.  The New Jersey Affidavit of Merit Statute requires "an affidavit of appropriate licensed person stating that there exists a reasonable… Continue Reading

NJ Supreme Court: Ferreira Conference is Not a Tolling Device

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, New Jersey
Paragon Contractors, Inc. v. Peachtree Condominium Association et al., New Jersey Supreme Court, June 28, 2010 Facts: Plaintiff Paragon Contractors, Inc. sued defendant Peachtree Condominium Association for payment for construction work it performed on Peachtree’s premises. Peachtree answered and counterclaimed for damages for Paragon’s failure to properly complete drainage work at the site. Peachtree also… Continue Reading

NJ Affidavit of Merit: Now Required in Legal Malpractice Claims Against a Law Firm

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, New Jersey
 Sharmrock Lacrosse, Inc. v. Klehr Harrison Harvey Bransburg & Ellers, et al (NJ App Div. 6-14-2010) NJ underlying loss of patent due to alleged attorney negligence. The Appellate Division has now ruled, in a case of first impression, that although New Jersey’s Affidavit of Merit Statute does not list a Law Firm as a "licensed… Continue Reading

PA: Multiple Defendants, Single Certificate of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Pennsylvania, Torts/Personal Injury
Salamoni v. Karoly, 2005 WL 3823056, 74 Pa. D. & C.4th 378 (Pa.Com.Pl. 2005) PA Underlying personal injury claim Student Contributor: Christopher S. Henn Facts: Plaintiff suffered personal injuries after being struck by a car. Plaintiff engaged the Defendant attorney, Karoly, to seek recovery for his injuries in the accident. Defendants filed for issuance of… Continue Reading

NJ Affidavit of Merit: Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Litigation, New Jersey, Standard of Care, Torts/Personal Injury
Levinson v. D’Alfonso & Stein, 320 N.J.Super. 312 (App. Div. 1999) NJ Underlying personal injury action Student Contributor: Michael Park Facts: Plaintiff hired attorney to handle his personal injury/automobile negligence claim. Plaintiff and attorney entered into a written retainer agreement, which contained a clause that provided that any settlement would require plaintiff’s authorization before being… Continue Reading

PA: Fraud Claim will Not be Barred by Failure to Produce Affidavit of Merit

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Pennsylvania, Real Estate
Jackson v. Gary L. Sweitzer Enterprises, Inc., 67 Pa. D. & C.4th 239 (York County 2004) Student contributor: Justin Lieberman PA: Underlying Real Estate Matter Facts: Plaintiffs filed a complaint against multiple Defendants, including Attorney Sedor, in December 2003 for professional negligence, fraud, and violation of Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law. The complaint alleged that their… Continue Reading

NJ When Does Legal Malpractice “Occur” under the Affidavit of Merit Statute?

Posted in Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, Commercial, Litigation, New Jersey
Christie v. Jeney, 167 N.J. 509 (2001) Student Contributor: Daniel Schick NJ Underlying Civil/Commercial Litigation Facts: Christie retained Jeney to pursue three claims on his behalf. Christie then alleged that in the course of the representation, Jeney failed to answer discovery requests in a contract claim, failed to properly serve and plead a civil-rights claim,… Continue Reading