Recent Cases

Recent Reported Malpractice Cases

Melcher v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, 2014 WL 1280587 (2014). In a case of nationwide first impression, established that because the right to claim for attorney deceit existed in ancient English law by reason of an Act of Parliament in 1275, the doctrine of common law reception applied, and the six-year statute of limitations governed the claim for attorney deceit under N.Y. Judiciary Law Sec. 487.

Darby & Darby, P.C. v. VSI Intern., Inc., 95 N.Y.2d 308, 739 N.E.2d 744, 716 N.Y.S.2d 378, 57 U.S.P.Q.2d 1155 (2000). Established that a law firm cannot be liable for malpractice for "failing" to advise a client about a novel theory of insurance coverage. This case has been cited more than 40 times in case law, and over 50 times in secondary sources, and effectively ended the nationwide campaign to create such a cause of action against lawyers.

Amalfitano v. Rosenberg, 12 N.Y.3d 8, 903 N.E.2d 265, 874 N.Y.S.2d 868 (2009). In the appeal of a question certified by the Second Circuit, the Court of Appeals adopted the position argued for amicus curiae, that the term "deceit" in the treble damage statute Judiciary Law Sec. 487 requires no showing of "fraud" or reliance.

HNH Intern., Ltd. v. Pryor Cashman LLP, 63 A.D.3d 534, 881 N.Y.S.2d 86 (First Dept. 2009). Reversed lower court, and reinstated malpractice claim against law firm that gave copyright clearance for sound recordings that were in fact protected by common law copyright.

Kirschner v. Mills, 274 A.D.2d 786, 711 N.Y.S.2d 65 (Third Dept. 2000). Annulled the conviction of dentist for giving expert opinions against personal injury plaintiffs who exhibited no verifiable symptoms. This is one of only two annulments of any professional misconduct charge against a dentist in reported N.Y. case law.

Recent Reported Partnership Cases

Melcher v. Apollo Management, 105 A.D.3d 15, 959 N.Y.S.2d 133 (First Dept. 2013). Remanded for trial of allegations that defendant hedge fund manager had fabricated a phony “contract amendment,” and for sanctions.

Melcher v. Apollo Management, 84 A.D.3d 547, 923 N.Y.S.2d 92 (First Dept. 2011). Affirmed jury verdict for breach of fiduciary duty against a hedge fund manager for diverting fees earned by the hedge fund to himself.

Bailey v. Fish & Neave, 8 N.Y.3d 523, 837 N.Y.S.2d 600 (2007). Law firm purported to amend its partnership agreement to defease departing partners of their accrued but unpaid compensation, and their share of contingent fees collected after their departure. (This was the loss noted on the Home Page.)

Evans v. Winston & Strawn, 303 A.D.2d 331, 757 N.Y.S.2d 532 (First Dept. 2003). Summary judgment granted to departing partners, rejecting law firm's purported amendment of partnership agreement in connection with a merger, which attempted to defease partners of their capital and unpaid compensation.

Recent Partnership Arbitrations Publicly Filed

Goldberg v. Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP, 52 A.D.3d 392, 860 N.Y.S.2d 93 (First Dept. 2008). Award for former partner for breach of contract, including award of costs and attorneys' fees against Thelen Reid for e.g., filing a frivolous counterclaim against the former partner. 

Roberts v. Finger, 15 Misc.3d 1118(A), 839 N.Y.S.2d 436, 2007 WL 1093487 (Sup.Ct. N.Y.Co. 2006). Award for law firm dismissing claim by former partner for alleged share of assets of dissolved firm. Costs and attorneys' fees of $383,000 awarded against former partner.

Other Selected Cases

Vodola v. Lambert, 116 A.D.2d 641, 497 N.Y.S.2d 720 ( Second Dept.1986). In a pro bono matter taken at the request of the FBI, restored title to a family's home, transferred by someone in the witness protection program in payment of a gambling debt; trial judge who declined to accept evidence regarding gambling issue removed from the case.


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