Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke



Client Can’t Religate Divorce Action By Suing Attorney For Malpractice

On July 18, 2018, the appellate court for Queens County agreed that a client who signed a settlement agreement resolving his divorce action couldn't sue his attorney by claiming: 1) he was too heavily medicated to understand what he signed; and, 2) the attorney didn't properly investigate the existence of all marital assets. The Court held that the client had a full and fair opportunity to prove these claims (he previously raised) during the divorce proceeding when he lost a motion to vacate or overturn the stipulation of settlement.

It was noted by the trial judge in denying the motion to vacate the settlement, that when the client agreed to the settlement he was asked - under oath - if he read it, understood it, had all his questions answered by his attorney, and was not under the influence of any medications - he said ”yes” to all. The client also testified in the divorce proceeding that he was satisfied with his attorney's services. Lastly, the exact same settlement agreement was explained to the client by at least two prior attorney's he retained and terminated before the current attorney's he was now suing.

Since the exact same issues raised in the legal malpractice action had been already been asserted, litigated and lost by the client in the context of his unsuccessful motion to vacate the divorce settlement, it was fair to dismiss his malpractice claim. You don't get two bites of the apple or a do-over, unless you didn't have a full and fair opportunity to litigate the exact same issue. In legalese, it's called the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Karakash v Trakas, 2018 WL 3450202

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Go to Top