Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, 1st Judicial Department Affirms Decision in Favor of FK Client in Malpractice Lawsuit

January 26, 2017

The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, 1st Judicial Department has affirmed a decision by The Hon. Eileen Bransten of the New York Supreme Court granting a motion to dismiss claims of legal malpractice and claims under Judicial Law Section 487 made against Friedman Kaplan’s clients, an AM Law 100 law firm and an individual partner of that firm.  The claims were brought by a former client of the firm’s in connection with patent litigation in which our clients had represented the plaintiff. 

The plaintiff, a government subcontractor, alleged that our clients in 2007 mishandled what should have been an easily winnable intellectual property lawsuit. The lower and appellate courts ultimately agreed that both the malpractice claims and claims under the Judiciary Law section 487 alleged by the plaintiff were not viable.

“The motion court properly dismissed the Judiciary Law section 487 claim because there are insufficient facts from which to conclude that [the firm] intentionally deceived [the client], or that [the firm] otherwise acted so egregiously that Judiciary Law section 487 was violated,” the panel of appellate judges said. They went on to state that, “decisions regarding the evidentiary support for a motion or the legal theory of a case are commonly strategic decisions and a client's disagreement with its attorney's strategy does not support a malpractice claim, even if the strategy had its flaws. The client has not alleged facts supporting its claim that [the firm] took an unreasonable course of action.”

The defendants were represented by Eric Seiler, Katherine Pringle, and Jamuna Kelley.