Client claims settlement was not in his interest.

Sometimes, a client will bring a legal malpractice claim against his attorney after the underlying case has been settled. The client may claim that the settlement was not in his interest.

A legal malpractice cause of action “ ‘is viable, despite settlement of the underlying action, if it is alleged that settlement of the action was effectively compelled by the mistakes of counsel’ ” (Tortura v. Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo, P.C., 21 A.D.3d 1082, 1083, 803 N.Y.S.2d 571, quoting Bernstein v. Oppenheim & Co., 160 A.D.2d 428, 430, 554 N.Y.S.2d 487). Nonetheless, a plaintiff’s conclusory allegations that merely reflect a subsequent dissatisfaction with the settlement, or that the plaintiff would be in a better position but for the settlement, without more, do not make out a legal malpractice cause of action (see Benishai v. Epstein, 116 A.D.3d at 727, 983 N.Y.S.2d 618 ; Boone v. Bender, 74 A.D.3d 1111, 1113, 904 N.Y.S.2d 467; Holschauer v. Fisher, 5 A.D.3d 553, 554, 772 N.Y.S.2d 836).

Maroulis v Friedman, 153 AD3d 1250 [2d Dept 2017]

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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