Lawyer Loses Bid to Dismiss Late Malpractice Claim Seeking $25M

On January 8, 2018, Justice Lynn Kotler of the New York County Supreme Court denied an attorney's motion to dismiss a legal malpractice claim arising out of a divorce action involving "assets worth tens of millions of dollars".  Noreen and Peter Roth married in 1996 and had two children. The husband founded a highly successful global skin care company (Peter Thomas Roth Labs) in 1993 and both husband and wife were employed in furtherance of the business. The wife claims that in December 2012 her husband hired the defendant law firm, Rubinstein & Rubinstein (RR) for "urgent" estate planning and asset protection work that needed to be completed immediately to take advantage of a tax law that was expiring. She claimed her husband and RR advised her that they "urgently needed to place all of their assets" into irrevocable trusts for the benefit of their children. The wife contends that she agreed to the plan and transferred 98% of all her marital and separate property to the children's trusts but that her husband secretly failed to do likewise.

In February 2016, the husband filed for divorce claiming that his wife has no right to equitable distribution because they no longer owned anything except a 1% interest in a general partnership with an interest in the family limited partnerships. The wife filed a legal malpractice claim against RR in June 2016 claiming negligence, conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty. RR moved to dismiss stating that their estate planning work was substantially completed in December 2012 and that any legal malpractice claim had to be filed by December 2015. The Court denied the motion finding that the statute of limitations had been tolled based on the doctrine of continuous representation. The defendant law firm undertook to prepare a deed for the transfer of a property in Water Mill, New York in March 2013 that wasn't recorded until April 2014. Justice Kotler explained that defendant RR's preparation and filing of a deed to real estate in 2013 and 2014 constituted "the same or related services as those that are at the heart of this action." The suit seeks $25,000,000 for both the legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary claims; and, $150,000,000 in punitive damages. Roth v Rubinstein,2018 NYSUM 118914

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!


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