Simons v. Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld, L.L.C., No. CV 21-129, 2022 WL 596299 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 28, 2022) (J. Rufe)

Gist of the action doctrine bars legal malpractice claim sounding in breach of contract when no breach of specific contractual promise is alleged.

The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim sounding in breach of contract where the amended complaint did not allege facts to support that the defendant law firms breached any “specific executory promise.” The plaintiff alleged that the defendant law firms breached their obligations to exercise the ordinary skill and knowledge related to the professional practice of law in providing representation in connection with a business deal. The trial court noted that a legal malpractice claim “sounds in negligence unless it is alleged that the party breached one of the ‘specific executory promises which comprise the contract.’” Finding that the plaintiff had not alleged that he gave any specific instructions to the law firms which they failed to follow, the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the breach of contract claim.


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