Bruno Secures a Pre-Answer Dismissal of a Third-Party Claim

October 2, 2018 | Professional Liability

Jon Bruno secured a pre-answer dismissal of a third-party complaint in the Southern District of New York.  Our client represented the plaintiff in a lawsuit concerning his daughter, and the defendant/third-party plaintiff represented the same plaintiff in various claims against his former employer.  The client participated in several telephone conferences with plaintiff and the third-party plaintiff during which plaintiff’s claims against his former employer were allegedly discussed.  When plaintiff brought an action against his attorney (the defendant/third-party plaintiff) for legal malpractice in allowing the statute of limitations on his claims against his former employer to lapse, that attorney then brought a third-party action asserting a contribution claim against the client.  The third-party complaint alleged that the client was retained by plaintiff, entered into a joint-representation agreement with third-party plaintiff and served as “concurrent counsel” with third-party plaintiff in the claims against plaintiff’s former employer.

The Court rejected the third-party plaintiff’s allegations as conclusory and found that the parties had only communicated to “coordinate” the two separate matters and that it was “implausible” that the client had acted as concurrent counsel in representing the plaintiff in his claims against his former employer.  The Court further held that regardless of whether the client represented the plaintiff in his claims against his former employer or whether he provided negligent advice during any of the telephone conference, the third-party complaint provided no basis to infer that the client had contributed to the plaintiff’s damages.  Therefore, the third-party plaintiff had failed to state a claim for contribution against Bruno’s client, and the third-party complaint was dismissed with prejudice.

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