Griner and Isaacson Obtain Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Action

June 12, 2024 | Medical Malpractice Defense

Amanda Griner and Debbie Isaacson successfully moved to dismiss an action in Supreme Court, Monroe County, against the firm’s clients: a personal injury law firm and its associate.

The firm’s clients represented plaintiffs in an underlying personal injury matter, wherein one of the plaintiffs was run over by a truck in a hotel parking lot. The firm’s clients commenced an action on plaintiffs’ behalf against the owner and operator of the vehicle and ultimately settled the action on plaintiffs’ behalf. Plaintiffs commenced a legal malpractice action, accusing the firm’s clients of failing to advise them that any liens would affect their recovery, failing to advise them that a settlement would foreclose further litigation against the operator’s employer corporations, and failing to pursue a civil rights claim on their behalf. Amanda and Debbie moved to dismiss the complaint on numerous grounds, and in opposition, plaintiffs cross-moved to amend the complaint to allege that the firm’s clients failed to investigate a human trafficking ring that plaintiffs purportedly uncovered or pursue a civil rights or RICO action against the town’s police officers and municipality officials.

The Court granted Rivkin Radler’s motion to dismiss the complaint in its entirety and denied plaintiffs’ cross-motion to amend the complaint. Amanda and Debbie successfully argued that the documentary evidence conclusively provided a defense to plaintiffs’ claims as a matter of law. The Court agreed that the retainer agreement did not state that the firm’s clients would provide services related to a civil rights action against the police department or other municipality entities. The Court further held that the settlement agreement and general releases signed by plaintiffs in the personal injury action utterly refuted plaintiffs’ claims that the firm’s clients failed to properly advise plaintiffs that litigation against the employer corporations would be foreclosed or that any recovery would be subject to liens. The Court also denied plaintiffs’ cross-motion to amend the complaint. While acknowledging that leave to amend should be freely given, the Court agreed with Rivkin’s arguments that plaintiffs’ proposed amended complaint was palpably insufficient and devoid of merit. Finally, the Court also dismissed the Complaint due to plaintiffs’ failure to properly serve the firms’ clients.

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