May 17th, 2024

FKB’s David Furman Successfully Argues Appeal Affirming Dismissal of a Legal Malpractice and Judiciary Law §487 Action Against a Veteran Trial Lawyer Arising Out of a Disputed Settlement

FKB’s David Furman defended an appeal before the Appellate Division, First Department, which affirmed, with costs, the dismissal of a legal malpractice and Judiciary Law §487 action against FKB’s client, a well-known veteran trial lawyer.

In this professional liability lawsuit, the plaintiff, himself a very experienced lawyer, hired FKB’s client to replace his former lawyer in a personal injury matter.  Unhappy with how his former counsel handled the underlying personal injury lawsuit, plaintiff also sued his former counsel for legal malpractice.  FKB’s client settled both matters (the underlying personal injury action and the legal malpractice action against the former lawyer).  The plaintiff, after learning of certain post-settlement communications between FKB’s client and his former lawyer, then filed suit against FKB’s client, claiming that the settlement was improvident/undervalued.

FKB’s David Furman drafted and argued the winning CPLR §3211 motion to dismiss before Justice Mary V. Rosado, J.S.C., who found that the plaintiff’s claims failed to meet the requisite proximate cause element as a matter of law.  On appeal, the First Department agreed, finding that plaintiff’s conclusory allegations were insufficient to meet the requisite “but for” proximate causation element in a legal malpractice action.  In addition, the Appellate Division took a strong stand on the Judiciary Law §487 claim, finding that it was not only duplicative, but on the facts alleged, they were insufficient to sustain a Judiciary Law §487 claim as the factual allegations were conclusory and did not involve intentional false statements giving rise to attorney deceit as required by statute.