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The Supreme Court of New Jersey resolved the tension between two leading precedents regarding post-settlement malpractice suits.

July 1, 2010
Guido v. Duane Morris, A-31-09

The Supreme Court of New Jersey allowed a legal malpractice suit to go forward in a ruling that clarified the circumstances in which clients who become disenchanted with settlements can sue their attorneys for negligence. In Guido v. Duane Morris, a unanimous Court held that "the existence of a prior settlement is not a bar to the prosecution of a legal malpractice claim" arising from the settlement. It also rejected the idea of requiring plaintiffs to try to vacate the settlement before suing their lawyers, a position advanced by the State Bar Association and the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey, both amici curiae. The ruling resolves the tension between the two leading precedents: Ziegelheim v. Apollo, 128 N.J. 250 (1992), which allowed a post-settlement malpractice suit, and Puder v. Buechel, 183 N.J. 428 (2005), which did not.

Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2010

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