May 16th, 2014

FKB’s Andrew S. Kowlowitz obtains a defense verdict of a legal malpractice counter-claim following a bench trial.

FKB’s client is a law firm, specializing in the practice of family law. The Firm was previously retained by the defendant in a guardianship proceeding. The Firm rendered extensive legal services on behalf of the defendant, and requested payment of invoices on several occasions. The defendant failed to remit payment. As a result, the Firm withdrew from the representation of the defendant, then subsequently brought suit seeking payment of outstanding legal fees. In response to the suit, the defendant filed a counter-claim for legal malpractice alleging that she did not acquiesce to the terms of the custody agreement, and that the representation provided by the Firm was deficient.

During a bench trial before Hon. Donald A. Miles (Bronx County Civil), FKB argued that defendant’s counterclaim for legal malpractice must be dismissed because (1) the defendant failed to introduce an expert to support the claim that the firm’s service fell below the appropriate standard of care and (2) the defendant failed to proffer evidence demonstrating that defendant suffered any compensable injury.

On April 29, 2014, Judge Miles issued a Decision and Order directing verdict in favor of FKB’s client, dismissing defendant’s counterclaim and awarding all outstanding legal fees to the firm. The court found that the defendant failed to rebut the Firm’s prima facie showing of entitlement to the outstanding fees or sustain its burden with respect to the legal malpractice claim.

If you have any questions concerning this decision, or the representation of law firms in general, please contact Andrew S. Kowlowitz.