Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Standard of Care

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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

FL: Trust & Estate Malpractice: Third-Party Testamentary Beneficiary Has Standing to Sue for Legal Malpractice

Posted in Florida, Standard of Care, Wills Trusts & Estates
Gallo v. Brady, 925 So.2d 363 (Fla. App. 2006) FL: Underlying Estate Planning Student Contributor: David Drescher FACTS: Ann Gasponi employed Frank R. Brady and his law firm Brady & Brady P.A. to carry out her estate planning. In the course of this representation, Brady suggested that Gasponi create a charitable remainder trust. Gasponi apparently… Continue Reading

NJ: The Lawyer/Broker Conflict

Posted in Fiduciary Duty, New Jersey, Standard of Care, Substantial Factor-Proximate Cause, Wills Trusts & Estates
Lovett v. Estate of Lovett, 250 N.J. Super. 79, 593 A.2d 382 (Ch. Div. 1991) NJ: Underlying will and estate contest Student Contributor: James Quinn Facts: Plaintiffs are two former guardians and children of decedent, who passed away during this action. They allege malpractice by attorney in drafting a more simple will for their father, eliminating… Continue Reading

NJ: Affidavit of Merit? Better Safe then Sorry.

Posted in Expert Witnesses, Family Law, New Jersey, Standard of Care
Prosser v. Zeldin, 2010 WL 5392707 NJ: Underlying Divorce; Affidavit of Merit  Student Contributor: Mordechai Buls FACTS: Defendant represented plaintiff in a divorce proceeding for a marriage in which the ceremony was performed in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. In the divorce case Plaintiff claimed that since there was no valid license, the marriage was not legal.… Continue Reading

GA: Applying the Same Standard of Care in a Different Way

Posted in Georgia, Standard of Care
Kellos v. Sawilowsky, 325 D.E.2d 757 (Ga. 1985). GA: Legal Malpractice Standards in General Student Contributor: Paul Barnhill FACTS: In a legal malpractice case, Attorney made a motion for summary judgment and supported this motion with an affidavit claiming to have met the proper standards of an attorney “in the State of Georgia.” Clients responded… Continue Reading

VA: Attorney Not Liable to Adversary Client for Negligence

Posted in Standard of Care, Torts/Personal Injury
Ayyildiz v. Kidd, 220 Va. 1080, 266 S.E.2d 108 (Va. 1980) VA: Underlying personal injury action Student Contibutor: Karen Dindayal Facts: Plaintiff, Ayyildiz is a doctor who was sued for malpractice by his patient, Grubb, and won the suit. Thereafter, Ayyildiz filed a motion for judgment against Grubb’s counsel, Edward S. Kidd, Jr., alleging malicious prosecution,… Continue Reading

NC: Attorney Not Liable in Divorce Action

Posted in Family Law, North Carolina, Standard of Care
Summer v. Allran, 100 N.C.App. 182, 394 S.E.2d 689 (N.C.App. 1990) NC: Underlying separation agreement Student Contributor: Karen Dindayal Facts: Plaintiff, Summer retained defendant William J. Allran to prepare a separation agreement with her ex-husband. Allran prepared three drafts of the agreement, and the parties signed the final draft on February 5, 1982.  A few months… 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

MI: Limits of the Attorney Judgment Rule

Posted in Defenses, Disengagement, Michigan, Standard of Care
Bush v. Goren, Michigan Court of Appeals, February 1, 2011.  Facts: In 2005, Plaintiffs consulted the defendant attorneys with respect to a medical malpractice claim related to a cardiac surgery completed on August 24, 2004 to evaluate the safety of a new vascular closure device.  After obtaining opinions of various cardiologists and vascular surgeons, the… Continue Reading

NY: The Professional Judgment Rule

Posted in New York, Standard of Care
DePouli v. Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson, New York Supreme, New York County, January 24, 2011. Facts: Defendant law firm participated in an information session given by the New York City Bar Association for victims of a crane collapse.  At that session, Defendants provided a letter, along with a notice of claim, to prospective claimants.… Continue Reading

NJ: Mandatory Hearing for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in Deportable Crimes

Posted in Criminal Law, New Jersey, Standard of Care
State of New Jersey v. Frensel Gaitan, Appellate Division, February 7, 2011. Underlying case: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Criminal Defense Facts: Defendant pled guilty to third-degree distribution of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school, and was sentenced to 5 years probation.  Approximately three years later, defendant filed suit against his former attorney… Continue Reading

NJ: Standard of Care in Drafting Settlement Agreements

Posted in Attorneys Fees, New Jersey, Standard of Care
Porreca v. City of Millville, N.J. App. Div., January 24, 2011.  Facts: Porreca sued the City of Millville and demanded counsel fees in his pleading.  Eventually, the parties decided to settle the matter and, allegedly, entered into "detailed negotiations."  In the final version of the settlement agreement, the release provided as follows: The City and… 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

SC: Filing Frivolous Action Results in Attorney Sanctions

Posted in Duties: Investigate, Litigation, South Carolina, Standard of Care, Torts/Personal Injury
Ex parte Gregory, 378 S.C. 430 (S.C. 2008) SC: Underlying tort action-settlement Student Contributor: Karen Dindayal Facts:  Jerry Bittle sustained brain injuries from an automobile accident, rendering him mentally incompetent. Bittle’s mother, Melton, retained Malloy to represent Bittle for his injuries. Melton and Bittle reached a settlement with the insurance company for the claims made,… Continue Reading

AR: Court Denies Withdrawal when Foreseeable Prejudice to Client

Posted in Arkansas, Duties: Communicate, Litigation, Local & Co-Counsel, Standard of Care
Vang Lee v Mansour, 104 Ark. App. 91 (2008) AR: Underlying litigation Student Contributor: Meghan Jean Facts:  Mansour was one of two attorneys client Vang Lee hired to represent him in a lawsuit. When Attorney #2 (also named Lee)  left for a month-long vacation, he left instruction for Mansour to schedule a pretrial conference between… Continue Reading

MI: Counsel’s Trial Strategy Not Actionable as Malpractice

Posted in Criminal Law, Litigation, Michigan, Standard of Care
Harris v. Farmer, Court of Appeals of Michigan, February 4, 2010 Facts:  Defendant served as Plaintiff’s court-appointed attorney in a criminal proceeding in which plaintiff was charged with identity theft.  The prosecution alleged that plaintiff attempted to use another individuals social security number to obtain employment.  Plaintiff was convicted and his claim for ineffective assistance… Continue Reading

PA: Standard of Care

Posted in Litigation, Pennsylvania, Standard of Care, Torts/Personal Injury
McHugh v. Litvin, Blumberg, Matusow & Young, 525 Pa. 1, 574 A.2d 1040 (Pa. 1990) PA Underlying Representation: Personal Injury Student Contributor: John Anzalone Facts: Plaintiffs retained Attorney 1 to sue Plaintiff Husband’s employer for injuries suffered while working. Attorney 1 later referred Plaintiffs’ case to Defendant Attorneys. Defendant Attorneys also were retained by Plaintiff… Continue Reading

NJ: Duties to Third-Parties

Posted in Commercial, Federal, New Jersey, Standard of Care
O’Brien v. Cleveland, 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 171 (Bankr. D.N.J. Jan. 22, 2010). Underlying commercial action Facts: Debtors filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy after falling behind on their mortgage payments. Even after the Chapter 13 filing, however, the debtors were unable to keep up with their payments under the the court ordered plan. Eventually, the first mortgage… Continue Reading

US Supreme Court: FDCPA: No Bona Fide Error Defense for Mistakes of Law

Posted in Commercial, Federal, Standard of Care
Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA et al., 2010 WL 1558977 (U.S. April 21, 2010). Facts:  Jerman sued Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich (the “Defendant law firm”) for, allegedly, violating the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by representing to Jerman that her debt would be assumed valid unless she disputed… Continue Reading

FDCPA: The Bona Fide Error Defense

Posted in Commercial, Federal, Standard of Care
Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich, 538 F.3d 469 (6th Cir. 2008) Facts:  Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant law firm violated the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by representing to her that her debt would be assumed valid unless she disputed the debt “in writing” even though the FDCPA does not require… Continue Reading

Legal Malpractice Law Review on Show at ABA National Legal Mal Conference in DC

Posted in Standard of Care
The American Bar Association’s Lawyers’ Professional Liability Committee’s National Legal Malpractice Conference in Washington DC has been a smash hit, with 500+ lawyers in attendance. The Legal Malpractice Law Review was showcased at a well-attended roundtable discussion called  "Teaching Tomorrow’s Lawyers to Avoid Legal Malpractice". It  demonstrated this blog as the latest cutting edge internet based method for… Continue Reading

PA: Settlement Not Always a Bar to Malpractice Action

Posted in Duties: Competence, Family Law, Pennsylvania, Standard of Care
McMahon v. Shea, 547 Pa. 124 (1997) Student Contributor: Justin Lieberman Underlying Divorce Matter Facts: The husband in an underlying divorce action brought a professional malpractice suit against his attorneys, claiming that they had failed to properly advise him in his divorce settlement. More specifically, the husband claimed that his attorneys had failed to advise… Continue Reading