On August 15, 2018, the appellate Court covering Queens County allowed a client's claim against it's former attorney to proceed on a theory that the attorney knew the client had no case and persuaded it to pay attorney's fees in a futile effort. The claim upheld was brought under the Judiciary Law Section 487 alleging that the lawyer was retained to prosecute a trademark violation which was dismissed because it was filed in the wrong federal court and that the statute of limitations had expired by the time their mistake was discovered. It was also claimed that the lawyer had "misrepresented the merits of the underlying action to them and to the court...in order to induce the plaintiffs to retain the defendant's services to prosecute a meritless action and pay legal fees."
The legal malpractice, breach of contract and fraud claims against the attorney were dismissed, but the most lucrative claim alleging a violation of the Judiciary Law was upheld. A jury will decide whether these claims of intentional deceit are true or not. A prevailing plaintiff/client in a Judiciary Law Section 487 action is entitled to treble damages (triple the actual losses) and reimbursement of their attorney's fees incurred for suing their former attorney. Bill Birds, Inc. v Stein Law Firm, P.C., 2018 WL 3863367