The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York has recently affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim. In Rodriguez v Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, a client was injured in a rear-end car accident and subsequently retained a lawyer to represent him in a case against the other driver. Several years into the lawsuit, the lawyer filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to establish liability. The motion was denied and the client then terminated the lawyer. He retained new counsel, who subsequently appealed the denial of the motion.
The appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision and granted summary judgment in favor of the client. As a result, the client instituted a malpractice action against the lawyer, arguing that the lawyer’s delay in moving for summary judgment deprived him of statutory interest, had judgment been entered earlier. The lawyer successfully moved to dismiss the malpractice action, and the client appealed.
The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal, finding that the allegations of the complaint were insufficient to state a claim for malpractice. The Court stated that while it was technically true that the lawyer could have moved for summary judgment earlier, the client failed to allege specific facts indicating that the delay was unreasonable. Therefore, dismissal was appropriate.
Decision: Rodriguez v Jacoby & Meyers,LLP.