Plaintiff’s petition defeated in high stakes legal malpractice case.
We defeated a plaintiff’s petition for certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court in a tortious interference and defamation action against an attorney for a lender bank. The New Jersey Appellate Division had affirmed a trial court decision granting summary judgment in a $10 million tortious interference and defamation case filed by borrowers against the attorneys for a lender bank. This case arose out of an underlying deficiency and foreclosure action filed by a bank due to the plaintiff’s failure to repay a multi-million dollar loan used to finance the purchase of real estate. During the course of negotiations to resolve the debt, the bank’s counsel had discussions with the plaintiff’s new lender. The plaintiffs alleged that during these discussions, the defendant attorney called the plaintiff a “wannabe gangster.” On appeal, Jack and Jeremy successfully argued that the trial court was correct in dismissing this case on summary judgment. The Appellate Division held that the trial judge correctly concluded that a statement made by the bank’s attorney to a potential new lender calling the plaintiff a “wannabe gangster” was mere name calling, not actionable defamation. The claims for tortious interference were based upon the lost opportunity, since the new lender rescinded its conditional commitment after the alleged statement was made. The Appellate Division held that the trial court was correct in holding that the statements were protected under the litigation privilege, that the litigation privilege is not confined to the courtroom, but extends to all statements or communications in connection with judicial proceedings. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a petition for certification before the New Jersey Supreme Court, which we successfully opposed. The Supreme Court, in its decision, denied the plaintiff’s petition, with costs in favor of our client.