FKB’s Andrew S. Kowlowitz and Spencer A. Richards successfully obtained Pre-Answer dismissal of a Complaint alleging legal malpractice filed in the Supreme Court, New York County, against FKB’s client, a prominent real estate law firm, arising out of FKB’s client’s representation of a Co-op Board.
In the Underlying Action, FKB’s client advised a Co-op Board to globally settle an action between two Co-op unit owners and the Co-op and withdraw a crossclaim against one of the unit owners for attorneys’ fees. The plaintiff, another Co-op unit owner and former Board member, thereafter, commenced a direct and derivative legal malpractice action on behalf of the Co-op in New York Supreme Court, New York County, against FKB’s client alleging that FKB’s client improperly advised the Co-op Board to settle the Underlying Action.
In its CPLR 3211(a)(1), (a)(5), and (a)(7) motion to dismiss the Complaint, FKB successfully argued, among other things, that the plaintiff’s claim failed to allege the requisite elements for legal malpractice. In dismissing the Complaint, the Court (Hon. Dakota D. Ramseur, J.S.C.), agreed with FKB’s argument that the plaintiff failed to plead proximate cause because it was the Co-op Board’s legitimate business decision to settle the Underlying Action pursuant to its authority under the Co-op bylaws. The Court also agreed with FKB’s argument that the plaintiff’s claim that FKB’s client should not have advised the Co-op Board to settle the Underlying Action is speculative. Finally, the Court agreed with FKB’s argument that the plaintiff failed to plead specific factual allegations that, but for defendant’s negligence, the Co-op would have secured a more favorable outcome on its crossclaim for attorneys’ fees.
If you have any questions about this decision, or the defense of attorneys in general, please contact Andrew S. Kowlowitz and Spencer A. Richards.
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