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NJ Affidavit of Merit: Now Required in Legal Malpractice Claims Against a Law Firm

 Sharmrock Lacrosse, Inc. v. Klehr Harrison Harvey Bransburg & Ellers, et al (NJ App Div. 6-14-2010)

NJ underlying loss of patent due to alleged attorney negligence.

The Appellate Division has now ruled, in a case of first impression, that although New Jersey’s Affidavit of Merit Statute does not list a Law Firm as a "licensed person" against whom an Affidavit of Merit is required in a legal malpractice suit, the law firm entity is to be considered a "licensed person" within the meaning of the statute. 

The facts are complex, the Judges tried to limit their holding to the unique facts of the case, but the Court’s message–or at least the lesson for the practitioner seems  clear: 

1) Get an Affidavit of Merit for all defendants in a legal malpractice action in New Jersey, regardless of whether the defendant is admitted in NJ or not. 

2) Include in the Affidavit of Merit the law firm, as an entity, even though the law firm is a non-New Jersey based law firm.

The entire decision is worth reading.  Just click the case name above. 

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Posted in: Affidavit/Certificate of Merit, New Jersey