On July 19, 2023, GVK obtained dismissal of plaintiffs’ legal malpractice claim and fourteen (14) related causes of action against GVK’s client. Plaintiff retained GVK’s client to represent her in a contentious matrimonial action which spanned several years. During the matrimonial action, GVK’s client’s diligent representation of the plaintiff resulted in a Parenting Agreement and two Settlement Stipulations placed on the record. Despite a favorable result obtained by GVK’s client in the underlying action, plaintiff brought suit against her attorney alleging a myriad of wrongdoings, only after GVK’s client brought a separate action to collect on the legal fees duly owed to her.
GVK successfully argued that plaintiff could not meet the requirements for a legal malpractice claim since, during her allocution in connection with the earlier Settlement, plaintiff: Acknowledged that the terms of the stipulation had been discussed and negotiated over a period of time understood the terms of the settlement in their entirety, believed the settlement was “fair and reasonable” and stated that she was satisfied with the services of her attorney. Additionally, GVK successfully argued that the client’s representation of plaintiff in the underlying action was found to be appropriate (as were her collections efforts for legal fees) and that prior sanctions against her did not amount to malpractice.
Justice Bannon in the Supreme Court, New York County rejected plaintiffs’ arguments and agreed with GVK that the evidence in the underlying matrimonial action clearly contradicted plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim. With respect to the Judiciary Law § 487 claim, the Court agreed with GVK’s position that the plaintiff failed to allege any intent to deceive on GVK’s client’s part and instead, the Court found that GVK’s client “zealously” represented the plaintiff in the underlying proceedings over several years, as demonstrated in plaintiff’s testimony in the underlying action and by virtue of plaintiff’s referral of her friends to GVK’s client.