Punitive damages awarded against attorney in legal malpractice action where attorney found to be derelict in providing representation to client.
The trial court, in a rare action, granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in this legal malpractice action, finding that reasonable minds could not disagree that the defendant attorney had committed malpractice sounding in both negligence and breach of contract. The defendant attorney represented the plaintiffs in defense against claims of violations of the Telephone Consumers Protection Act of 1991. The defendant attorney failed to respond to discovery requests, including requests for admission, on behalf of his clients. The defendant then failed to respond to a motion for summary judgment, despite that several extensions were granted to respond to the motion. The motion was granted and judgment entered in favor of the underlying plaintiffs. The defendant attorney did not timely move for reconsideration and did not timely appeal. The underlying defendants paid the judgment and sued their lawyer for legal malpractice. The trial court found that the actions of the defendant attorney fell well below the standard of care, that he had not provided any justification whatsoever for his actions, and that judgment in favor of the plaintiffs was appropriate as a matter of law. The court also awarded punitive damages in the amount of $1.00 to “serve as notice to everyone moving forward that they need to do due diligence when dealing with” the defendant attorney.
Legal Update for Lawyers’ Professional Liability – July 2022 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. We would be pleased to provide such legal assistance as you require on these and other subjects when called upon. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1 Copyright © 2022 Marshall Dennehey , all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints or inquiries, or if you wish to be removed from this mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.