Warning: the underlying facts and procedural history are cringeworthy. This is the saga of a medical malpractice case which is dismissed, leading to a legal malpractice case, which is wrongfully dismissed, leading to an Appellate Division case which exposes all the flawed decision-making.

Plaintiff died, allegedly of bedsore complications in a Jersey City nursing home in 2012. His daughter, as the representative of her father’s estate, retained defendant attorney to handle the medical malpractice case against the nursing home.

Defendant had never handled a medical malpractice case, but in preparation for this matter he read a book and researched the Affidavit of Merit (AOM) statute. Believing no AOM was necessary, defendant filed the complaint in 2013. He “initiated the action without conducting an investigation, a medical records review, or consulting with any experts before or after the complaint was filed.” (Opinion at 4). In April of 2014 the complaint was dismissed with prejudice for failing to file an AOM. Defendant then advised plaintiff she may have a cause of action against him for legal malpractice.
Continue Reading

Identifying who your client is at the outset is one of the most important aspects of the attorney-client relationship.  It governs who you can seek payment from and who can sue you for malpractice.  This is particularly important when your client is a limited liability company, general or limited partnership, or a closely held corporation. 

As the Model Rules of Professional Conduct demonstrate, a lawyer may serve many functions for a client: advisor, advocate, negotiator, or evaluator, to name a few.  Under any role, however, a lawyer is obligated to act with the best interests of his or her client in mind, even when the client is not paying for

There are three basic components to an attorney’s eligibility to practice in the State of New Jersey: (1) annual registration, including making the required annual payments to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection (N.J. Ct. R. 1:28); (2) fulfilling the bi-annual CLE reporting requirements; and (3) maintaining an IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts)

A recent Appellate Division decision illustrates the importance of a solid engagement letter that sets forth both the scope of the engagement as well as any limitations on the scope, i.e., what the lawyer is not being retained to do. In Murphy v. Shaw, Docket No. L-0869-13 (decided June 21, 2019), the lawyer was

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently confirmed how important it is to comply with procedural court rules, especially when the Court has given guidance as to how to comply with them.  In Cuomo v. TSI Ridgewood, Docket No A-4898-17T4, Defendant’s attorneys failed to comply with the requirements of electronic filing, as well as the

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently said no.  The Client in that case hired Attorney 1 to pursue an employment claim under a contract of employment that contained an arbitration clause as well as a Delaware choice of law clause. Approximately three years later, Client fires Attorney 1 and hires Attorney 2.  Attorney 2 files

A recent Appellate Division decision serves as a reminder to attorneys to ensure that they have received proper authorization from their clients to settle a matter.  In Jesus Gonzalez v. Electronic Integration Services, LLC t/a Panurgy OEM, Docket No. A-0251-18T3 (App. Div. May 30, 2019), the court considered an appeal of a trial court’s