The New York Appellate Division has affirmed a judgment dismissing a legal malpractice claim against a New York attorney and his law firm. In Mizuno v. Nunberg, a client hired an attorney to represent him in bankruptcy proceedings, after a bank foreclosed on the client’s property. The client was unable to stop the foreclosure, and then filed a legal malpractice action against the attorney. He was successful in that action and recovered the value he lost as a result of the foreclosure sale.
The client then commenced a second malpractice lawsuit against the lawyer, who represented the attorney in the first legal malpractice action. The client alleged that the lawyer elicited false testimony from his attorney, and thus committed fraud. The lawyer successfully moved to dismiss the case, on the basis that the client had failed to state a cause of action. The client appealed the decision.
However, the New York Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal. The Court emphasized that the client had already obtained relief in the first malpractice claim, and therefore could not prove that the alleged malpractice of the second lawyer caused any damages. Dismissal was thus appropriate.
Decision: Mizuno v. Nunberg