Attorney Malpractice

News & Analysis as of

Beware of informal relationships and conflicts

Conflicts of interest can be complicated and risky. They can be impediments to taking on new business and can also lead to high verdicts in legal malpractice cases. Virtually all attorneys know to run conflict checks for new...more

AOL, Dropbox and the Big “uh-oh”

A New York couple brought suit against their former law firm because it used an America Online account to transact firm business. If you are my age you probably remember that AOL and “You’ve got mail!” were the future—back...more

LSREF III Wight Ltd v Gateley LLP [2016] EWCA Civ 359

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in LSREF III Wight Ltd v. Gateley LLP [2016] EWCA Civ 359, a case which concerned what, if any damages had been caused by solicitors' negligence and whether the claimant had failed...more

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds the "Strict Privity Rule" When Interpreting Attorney-Client Relationship

Baker v. Wood, Ris & Hames, Professional Corporation, 364 P. 3d 872 (January 16, 2016) - Brief Summary - Colorado Supreme Court, en banc, analyzed whether dissatisfied beneficiaries of a testator-client's estate...more

Trees Grow Back -- Paper Your File

Papering your file (or PDFing an electronic file) is an important, if underappreciated, method to protect both you and your clients. Regular memos to a file will help cut down time necessary to analyze a new development in...more

California Court Reluctantly Vacates Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Action

Younessi v. Woolf (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 16, 2016) - Brief Summary - The California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, reluctantly affirmed an order vacating the dismissal of an attorney malpractice action where...more

Court Rules In Favor Of An Attorney Regarding Claims Arising From A Conflict of Interest

In Fitts v. Richards-Smith, three brothers were riding in a car when the car hit another vehicle properly stopped in the road. 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 1542 (Tex. App.—Texarkana February 17, 2016, no pet. history). The driver was...more

Relief From Dismissal Under Mandatory “Attorney-Fault” Provision of CCP 473(b) Granted Despite Absence of Evidence that Attorney’s...

In Younessi v. Woolf (No. G051034 – filed February 16, 2016), Division Three of the Fourth Appellate District reluctantly affirmed the trial court’s order vacating dismissal of a legal malpractice case. Although the trial...more

Texas Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Legal Malpractice Case Involving Standing of Beneficiary of Trust

On February 10, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court heard argument in a case that involves the issue of legal standing to sue when a trust is injured by the actions of a third party. In DLA Piper US, LLP v. Linegar, Chris Linegar...more

Mistakes Happen - How to Respond When They Do

Attorneys are human. They make mistakes. However, how an attorney responds to a mistake may be more important than the mistake itself. In the face of potential civil liability, sanctions or disciplinary proceedings, care...more

Illinois Appellate Court Reinforces Rule Providing Immunity to Attorneys for Errors in Judgment

Judgmental immunity is alive and well in Illinois. Navar v. Tribler, Orpett & Meyer, P.C., 2015 WL 6163619 (Ill. App. Ct. Oct. 19, 2015). A recent Illinois appellate court decision held that a rule affording...more

Avoiding the Upsurge in Trust, Probate and Estate Planning Malpractice

The number of lawsuits against trust, probate and estate planning attorneys has significantly increased over the last several years. Today, trust, probate and estate planing attorneys are charged with legal malpractice and...more

Illinois Claim for Aiding and Abetting Client's Breach of Fiduciary Duty Time-Barred

Brief Summary - The plaintiff, a shareholder of limited liability company (LLC), filed an action against a law firm and one of its lawyers, alleging they aided and abetted other shareholders in breaching their fiduciary...more

Federal Court Dismisses Insurance Fair Conduct Act Claims

In a rare victory for insurers, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington dismissed Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) claims against Evanston Insurance Company. Washington’s IFCA provides a statutory...more

MA Supreme Court Issues Highly Anticipated Patent Ethics Decision

Simultaneous representation by a law firm in the prosecution of patents for two clients for similar inventions is not a per se violation of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. On December 23, in Chris E....more

Massachusetts Court Clears Patent Prosecutors of Malpractice Claims Arising From Representation of Clients in Same Technology Area

On December 23, 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a legal malpractice suit finding that, “simultaneous representation by a law firm in the prosecution of patents for two...more

California Law Revision Commission Mulls Recommending Exception To Mediation Privilege

In This Evidentiary Privilege May Stop At The Border, I noted that Section 1119 of the California Evidence Code establishes a broad mediation privilege...more

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Facing a Legal Malpractice Claim - Whoops—Legal Malpractice Prevention

Legal malpractice claims are bad enough. Unfortunately, many attorneys respond in a way that makes them worse, transforming legal malpractice claims into litigation nightmares. A straightforward claim that might have been...more

Reduce the Risk of Malpractice Claims - Whoops - Legal Malpractice Prevention

Legal malpractice claims just keep coming. Rarely does a week go by without another article about a new high-profile legal malpractice lawsuit. Sometimes, these claims are the result of a simple mistake. Claims can arise when...more

High Noon at the Train Station: Social Media and Modern E-Discovery

Most people take time zones for granted these days, but it was this week in 1883 that railroad companies in both Canada and the United States started using four continental time zones. Until then, time was local, based on...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Week Ending October 23, 2015

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - Foreclosure/Documentary Stamp Tax: deferred interest on a “pick-a-payment” mortgage did not amount to future advance, which would have required payment of documentary stamp tax - Steinberg v. Wells...more

The Duty of Loyalty Lives on in New Jersey

In an interesting decision affirming the ‘old-but-not-forgotten’ principle that an employee owes his first duty of loyalty to her employer, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently affirmed a decision allowing an employer to...more

Getting Your Money Back: New Jersey Employers Can Disgorge A Disloyal Employee’s Salary

In a recent ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave employers a great recourse for dealing with former employees who breach their duty of loyalty. In Bruce Kaye v. Alan P. Rosefielde, the Court allowed an employer to...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds That Economic Loss is Not Needed To Recoup a Former Employee’s Salary for Breach of the Duty of...

On September 22, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously gave the green light to awards of the remedy of equitable disgorgement, even in the absence of economic loss, as a fair and practical response to an employee’s...more

The Ethics of Using Public Adjusters as Expert Witnesses

Somewhere in Texas at this very moment a public adjuster is knocking on the door of a home or business owner offering to inspect the roof for wind or hail damage and assist with the submission of an insurance claim. It is...more

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