Most of the legal malpractice cases we discuss in this blog involve attorneys in New Jersey or elsewhere who have been accused of making a significant mistake that impacted the outcome of a legal claim. This might be missing a deadline, insufficiently pleading or defending a case, not knowing the law or some other type of incompetence.
Accusations in legal malpractice cases very rarely include malice, or the intent of a lawyer to purposefully do a disservice to his or her client for one reason or another. However, that is exactly what one woman recently accused her Garden City, New York, divorce lawyer of doing.
The woman hired the lawyer reluctantly, at her husband’s encouraging. Her husband reportedly had some sort of working relationship with the lawyer, and the woman has said that the lawyer protected her ex’s interests rather than her own during the proceedings.
In her legal malpractice complaint, the woman states that her attorney and her husband had an “understanding.” This, she said, resulted not only in unprofessional and inadequate legal representation, but also detrimental counsel.
She contends that her lawyer did not obtain independent appraisals of a variety of assets including jewelry, a rare pen collection, a gun collection, furnishings and the marital home.
She believes she would have been awarded more spousal maintenance, alimony, as well as a larger settlement of assets if she had received adequate legal representation from her attorney.
A Supreme Court justice has ruled that the woman’s claim can proceed. She has requested more than $4 million in damages.
The divorce attorney has denied the accusations.
Source: New York Law Journal, “Divorced woman’s bid to sue her attorney clears hurdle,” Andrew Keshner, Aug. 14, 2012