Peter J. Biging, vice chair of the firm’s Management and Professional Liability practice, and associate Christopher F. Lyon, discuss negligence of a succeeding attorney in a case, and analyze the matter of legal malpractice and if one or both attorneys involved are to be held responsible.
In “Which Lawyer Was Responsible?” Peter and Chris talk about the meaning of a superseding intervening cause, the cause and its relationship with legal malpractice, and provide case examples.
“While it may be the case that what the first lawyer did or didn’t do bears no relationship to what the second lawyer did or didn’t do, it is not atypical for the roots of the malpractice to have formed during the course of the first lawyer’s involvement. The question is, when does the conduct of the second lawyer merely contribute to the legal malpractice, and when does it constitute a superseding intervening cause such that the first lawyer is taken off the hook and all liability rests with the successor attorney?”
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Peter counsels and defends directors and officers against claims alleging fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duties, and a variety of professionals against claims based on alleged errors and omissions (E&O) in the performance of their professional services. He also regularly litigates labor and employment practices liability claims, commercial disputes, and municipal liability claims premised on alleged civil and constitutional violations. Peter is also the current chair of the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and Professional Liability Insurance Committee, and is the immediate past chair of the Professional Liability Defense Federation’s Insurance Agent/Broker Claims Committee.
Chris focuses his practice on counseling and defending insurance agents and brokers, accountants, architects, lawyers, and other professionals in a variety of professional liability claims. He represents clients in all stages of the claims-handling process, from inception through trial and appeal, including arbitration and mediation. Chris defends clients before state and federal courts across New York and New Jersey, including the New York Supreme Court.