Attorneys successfully obtained an affirmance of a grant of summary judgment in a legal malpractice action
Attorneys successfully obtained an affirmance of a grant of summary judgment in a legal malpractice action arising out of our insured-attorney's former representation of a client in an equity action relating to a complex real estate refinancing transaction involving several large parcel of the client's land. The plaintiff claimed she had suffered damages resulting from eventual foreclosure upon the real property listed in the amended mortgage, her personal bankruptcy and the loss of a commercial stone business. Plaintiff filed a Certificate of Merit (COM) pursuant to state civil procedure rules, governing professional liability actions. In her COM, plaintiff indicated that no expert testimony was required to support her claims. Consequently, we filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiff was bound by her assertion that no expert testimony was required and was thus precluded from presenting expert testimony at trial. We argued that, as the action was one for professional negligence and the matters addressed were beyond the comprehension of average jurors, expert testimony was required in order for plaintiff to prove her malpractice claims. We also argued that the plaintiff's claims were filed more than two years beyond the trigger date for the running of the statute of limitations for negligence claims even if a "discovery rule" analysis were applied. The trial court granted our motion for summary judgment on both grounds, and the Superior Court affirmed.