Professional Liability

Overview

Friedman Kaplan has extensive experience prosecuting and defending malpractice and other tort claims involving professionals – most notably accountants and lawyers. 

We have litigated on behalf of financial institutions against the major accounting firms in cases alleging accounting and auditing failures.  Our expertise in accountants’ liability cases dovetails naturally with our core practice in complex financial litigation.  In matters involving financial fraud, we are proficient in analyzing accountants’ work papers and finding "red flags" the auditors disregarded.  Because Friedman Kaplan has elected not to represent major accounting firms, we are free from conflicts that constrain many large law firms from taking on such engagements.

We also have substantial expertise defending law firms and individual lawyers against a variety of claims, including malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, and fraud.  Our clients have consisted of international, national, and local law firms, including some of the most prominent firms in New York.  In addition, many of our partners serve as advisors both to law firms and to corporate boards on matters of ethics and fiduciary duties. 

It speaks volumes about the high caliber of our attorneys and our reputation for intelligent, aggressive, and creative advocacy that other top-tier lawyers turn to Friedman Kaplan when they find themselves in trouble.  These are among the most demanding of clients, and they know that Friedman Kaplan will vigorously pursue their objectives in a highly collaborative and responsive manner.  These clients also know that Friedman Kaplan’s thoughtful and informed advice, and our skill at anticipating issues, will enable them to navigate through challenges before they become problems.

Selected Experience

  • We represented an international law firm in defense of claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and malpractice brought by one of the world's largest banks in New York state court in connection with a $75 million loan the bank made (and on which our client advised the bank). The borrower thereafter pled guilty to fraud. This bank sued our clients claiming they were responsible for not uncovering the fraud. 
  • We represented a major international law firm in appealing from a jury verdict of legal malpractice and award of damages against the firm. The Appellate Division, First Department agreed with our arguments and not only reversed the judgment that had been entered on the jury verdict against our client, but also dismissed the case in its entirety. The plaintiff sought leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which we successfully opposed.
  • We are representing an Am Law 100 law firm and an individual partner of the firm in defense of a legal malpractice action brought by a former client in connection with patent litigation in which the firm had represented the defendant. The case has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
  • We represented a large group of investors in Lancer Offshore, Inc., and The Omnifund, Ltd., two offshore hedge funds managed by Michael Lauer, following the funds’ demise. We brought claims against the funds’ third-party service providers, including their auditors, prime brokers, and administrator, alleging that they either committed fraud, participated in the manager’s fraud, or both. 
  • We represented a large group of investors in feeder funds of Beacon Hill Master Fund, as well as the joint official liquidators and receiver for the funds, following their demise. We brought claims against the funds’ managers and parent company, as well as its third-party service providers including its auditor, prime brokers, and administrator, alleging that they aided and abetted the fund managers' fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty. The matter involved complex issues pertaining to hedge fund auditing, the value of inverse-floater derivatives, in pari delicto, scienter, and agency, and resulted in favorable settlements for our clients.
  • Representation of receiver of Philip Services Corp., a Canadian metals processing and environmental services company, as well as a syndicate of its lenders, in connection with claims in the hundreds of millions of dollars against Deloitte & Touche.

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Case Studies

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