MMP&S represents attorneys in malpractice, malicious prosecution, fraud and attorney deceit actions arising out of a wide range of underlying matters including corporate transactions, securities litigation, accounting, employment, intellectual property infringement, bankruptcies, matrimonial and family law, criminal defense, real estate transactions, foreclosures, personal injury actions and contract negotiations.
The MMP&S attorney liability team leverages the experience of attorneys across the firm who practice in many of the same areas as our attorney clients to develop a thorough understanding of the underlying claims and explore all available defenses. We are sensitive to the financial, reputational and often emotional upheaval attendant to legal malpractice and related claims, and we work with our attorney clients to resolve these matters as discreetly and expeditiously as possible.
In addition, MMP&S counsels our attorney clients on risk management by revising retainer agreements, avoiding conflicts of interest and developing best practices to comply with attorneys’ ethical obligations, all with the goal of avoiding complaints, disciplinary proceeds and litigation.
Court Ordered Pre-Answer Dismissal Secured in Legal Malpractice Action - 2019
In Mattera v. Nusbaum, et al, MMP&S successfully obtained a Court-Ordered pre-answer dismissal with prejudice for our clients, a law firm and its partners, in connection with a six-count complaint alleging legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conspiracy. Plaintiff filed the action based upon the law firm’s alleged betrayal of him in connection with two separate but somewhat related incidents including: 1) a derivative class action wherein the law firm secured a settlement for its clients and 2) an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (â€œSECâ€), which ultimately led to Plaintiff’s prosecution and imprisonment. MMP&S argued that plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice because (1) it was a shot-gun pleading, despite the Court giving the plaintiff specific instructions on how to properly amend it after the Court dismissed plaintiff’s first version of the Complaint; (2) plaintiff failed to properly plead the necessary elements of his causes of action; and (3) the statute of limitation barred all of the claims. The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida Magistrate Judge issued a report and recommendation in favor of dismissal, and the District Court Judge affirmed and adopted this report and recommendation in its entirety
MMP&S Obtains Pre-Answer Motion to Dismiss in Legal Malpractice Action - 2019
In Katsoris v. Bodnar & Milone, LLP, MMP&S prevailed on a pre-answer motion to dismiss this legal malpractice action. In his 99-paragraph Complaint, the pro se plaintiff, a former litigator at a large multi-national law firm, alleged that our clients, his divorce attorneys, committed legal malpractice and breached its fiduciary duties to him. Included in his claims was that the Firm overbilled him, failed to disclose material information during the divorce action, failed to properly advise him, and missed discovery dates. He sought damages for, among other things, excessive attorney’s fees, lost income and marital property, lost child support and equitable distribution of marital assets. He sought $2,000,000.00 in damages.
MMP&S successfully argued to the Westchester Supreme Court that the Complaint failed to state a cause of action for legal malpractice because the plaintiff, after dismissing the divorce attorneys, retained new counsel and entered into a settlement agreement with his ex-wife. The Court further held that the plaintiff failed to plead specific factual allegations demonstrating that, but for the defendants’ alleged negligence, there would have been a more favorable outcome in the underlying action or that the plaintiff would not have incurred any damages. The breach of fiduciary duty cause of action was dismissed, as it was based on the same facts as the legal malpractice cause of action and did not allege distinct damages
MMP&S Successfully Obtains Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Complaint - 2019
In Parise et. al. v. Van Pelt et. al., MMP&S successfully obtained a dismissal of plaintiffs™ legal malpractice complaint in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs, property owners, had filed a 600-paragraph complaint in 2017 against our client, an attorney, alleging that the attorney, and others, were part of a large scheme to deprive plaintiffs of their land in New Jersey. The Complaint asserted claims for (i) violation of the Federal RICO statute; (ii) tortious interference; (iii) malicious abuse of process; and (iv) unjust enrichment. Our client had provided discrete legal services to the plaintiffs between 2001 and 2004. MMP&S successfully argued that the complaint failed to state a claim in regard to any cause of action, that any amendment would be futile, and that all causes of action were nonetheless time barred. The Court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint with prejudice
MMP&S Prevails on Pre-Answer Motion to Dismiss in Legal Malpractice Action - 2019
In Estate of Benjamin Sendyk v. Gallus, MMP&S prevailed on a pre-answer motion to dismiss a legal malpractice action involving allegations of malicious prosecution and Judiciary Law § 487 action against our client, an attorney. In the underlying Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) action, our client litigated claims against an international telephone company that allegedly engaged in criminal copyright infringement, money laundering, mail and wire fraud. After the defendant prevailed in the underlying Federal Court action, plaintiff commenced a malicious prosecution action in Supreme Court, Kings County, alleging that the attorney and her clients commenced the prior action with malicious intent and without probable cause. It was further alleged that our client filed a false complaint and made misrepresentations to the federal court in violation of New York Judiciary Law § 487. MMP&S successfully argued that the probable cause element of a malicious prosecution claim must be applied to the entire underlying lawsuit, and not individual causes of action. Given that some of the underlying claims were submitted to a jury precluded a finding that the entire action lacked probable cause. As for the Judiciary Law § 487 claim, MMP&S argued that the vague allegations of misrepresentations were not set forth with the requisite specificity, and otherwise failed as a matter of law.