NY: Underlying Workers Compensation proceeding
Facts: Plaintiff brought a malpractice action against the defendant arising out of the defendant’s representation of the plaintiff in a worker’s compensation proceeding. The plaintiff is claiming that the defendant was negligent in failing to obtain the plaintiffs medical records for an intervening accident that occurred 7 years after the original accident to show that the intervening accident had no effect on her present claim that she was unable to work. Furthermore, the plaintiff claims that because of the defendant’s failure to obtain these medical records, the Worker’s compensation Board rejected a reopening of her original claim.
Issue: Did the plaintiff sufficiently prove that the content of the medical records would have shown that the intervening accident had no effect on her claimed present inability to work?
Ruling: No. The plaintiff failed to demonstrate an issue of fact as to proximate cause of the Worker’s Compensation Board failing to reopen the original case. The plaintiffs claim is dismissed due to her failure to show that “but for” the defendants negligence, the original Worker’s Compensation claim would have been reopened.
Lesson: Failure to demonstrate an issue of fact as to proximate cause requires dismissal of a legal malpractice action regardless of whether the attorney was negligent.