The New Jersey Supreme Court is about to take another look at the "settle and sue" syndrome: When a client settles a case and then sues his or her lawyer over it. The case is Guido v. Duane Morris.
The Appellate Division had decided to permit the Guidos’ malpractice lawsuit against their former attorneys who had represented them in an underlying shareholder dispute that was settled.
Duane Morris has filed an interlocutory appeal and brief (PDF) arguing that the suit should not be permitted.
Plaintiffs oppose (PDF) and say that their malpractice claim should be allowed.
Trial Attorneys of New Jersey, representing the interests of the trial bar, wants permission to file an amicus brief.(PDF).
Pennsylvania had faced the same problem and has resolved it in a way that seems to have pleased all the contending parties. How should New Jersey’s High Court proceed? For one suggestion, see, "Holding Lawyers Accountable for Bad Settlements" in the New Jersey Law Journal. (PDF) Should New Jersey follow Pennsylvania’s lead or should it chart a different course to calm the unrest in the Appellate Divisions resulting from its 2005 decision in Puder v. Buechel?
Stay tuned. More to come on this hot topic.