Network Firm News

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

A Word to the Wise -- Inexperience Can Be Really Costly; A Malpracticing Law Firm Can Be Liable for Punitive Damages Awarded Against Client

Malpractice Claims Against LeBoeuf Lamb Go Forward

New York Lawyer -- November 25, 2002
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman last week denied a motion to dismiss malpractice claims against LeBoeuf, Lamb, Green & MacRae made by former client the Sheraton Corporation, the New York Law Journal reports.

Sheraton sued LeBoeuf for $50 million last December, charging the firm mishandled a case by making an inexperienced associate lead trial counsel. A jury in the 1999 trial at issue ordered the hotel company to pay more than $50 million in damages, including $37.5 million in punitive damages, though these were later reduced by $20 million.

In upholding Sheraton's punitive damages claims, Justice Gammerman said punitive damages could be considered an economic consequence of the alleged malpractice rather than an indemnification request to a bad-faith actor.

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