What happens when an attorney does not name every party who may be responsible in a medical malpractice suit? Does forgetting a person rise to the level of legal malpractice?Dellaquila v. Bendit Weinstock P.A., A-5268-10T4, 2012 WL 1581219 (N.J. Super.Ct. App. Div. May 8, 2012), is a case which deals with this issue as well as how forgetting a person interacts with the statute of limitations which has previously been discussed on this blog.
Jan Rubin Association Inc. v. Nixon Peabody LLP, 2008 WL 4106694 (Pa. Com. Pl. June Term 2007) is aPennsylvania case which examines settlements in the same way earlierNew Jersey cases have. Most importantly, the case shows that settlements, even if signed, will not prevent a legal malpractice suit. However, often times, there may be another condition which does indeed prevent the suit.
Smith v. Grayson, A-1072-10T4, October 17, 2011, (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2011) is a case which details 3 main points. The first point demonstrates the limits of the Puderdoctrine, outlining when a settlement may be ripe for a malpractice suit. The second point concerns the basis of attorney opinions in malpractice suits. Finally, the case deals with 3rdparty malpractice liability, such as when a defendant attorney retains consultant counsel to help with a case.
In the context of attorney-client relationships, people often forget that a client is a consumer of legal services. Given the scope of this definition of consumer, it is inevitable that a client may attempt to bring a cause of action under consumer protection laws in addition to common law malpractice. Beyers v. Richmond, 594 Pa. 654 (2007) is an interesting case which considers the applicability of consumer protection statutes to legal representation which may be more deficient than allowable.
Swain v. Alterman, A-4214-10T4, 2011 WL 6112126 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. December 9, 2011) is an important case inNew Jersey for legal malpractice plaintiffs who do not properly procure an affidavit of merit. The affidavit of merit is a letter from another attorney stating that the defendant attorney did not uphold his duty as required by the profession.