Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani attorneys John Palmeri and Christine Kroupa secured a defense verdict in favor of their client on claims of legal malpractice. They were also successful on the client’s counterclaim for unpaid attorney fees.
The legal malpractice case arose from the representation of the plaintiff in two underlying divorce proceedings. The client, a prominent domestic relations attorney, negotiated a multi million dollar settlement for the plaintiff in a complex divorce proceeding involving valuable intellectual property. Following the divorce settlement, the plaintiff remarried without a prenuptial agreement. The plaintiff alleged the attorney was negligent by failing to advise her to keep the divorce settlement as her separate property and to require a prenuptial agreement prior to remarriage. The plaintiff claimed that had she been so advised, she would not have remarried if her fiancé would not have agreed to a prenuptial agreement. The attorney countered that he had advised her to keep the divorce settlement as her separate property. The plaintiff did not tell him about her plan to remarry and did not seek his advice regarding a pre nuptial agreement. The attorney counterclaimed for his unpaid attorney fees.
The case was tried to a jury. The jury returned verdicts in favor of the attorney. The jury found the attorney was not negligent. The jury also found in favor of the attorney on his counterclaim and awarded the entire amount of the unpaid attorney fees. The attorney’s engagement agreement includes a prevailing party provision.