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NY: Disciplinary Violations Without More Don't Add up to "But For" Causation

Nason v. Fisher, 36 A.D.3d 486; 828 N.Y.S.2d 51 (2007)

NY: Underlying Commercial Transaction

Student Contributor: Colleen Gaedcke

Facts: The plaintiff retained the defendant attorneys based on one of the defendant attorneys representation that he was experienced in handling commercial partnership cases. The plaintiff brought a cause of action against the defendant for false representation in violation of NY Judiciary Law section 487, but the court dismissed the action for the plaintiff’s failure to establish the statutory requirement of “chronic and extreme pattern of legal delinquency.” Additionally, the plaintiff also brought a legal malpractice claim against the defendants. The plaintiff’s claimed that the defendant’s alleged violation of Disciplinary Rules are evidence of malpractice.

Issue: Whether the court properly granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing the legal malpractice claim?

Ruling: Yes.

Lesson: Allegations of violations of Disciplinary Rules may be evidence of malpractice, however such a violation alone will not establish that the attorney’s conduct was the “but for” cause of the plaintiff’s loss.

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Posted in: But for-Proximate Cause, Commercial, New York, Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs)