Business of Law

Judge OKs $5M Jury Award re Bryan Cave Arbitration Advice; with Interest, It Could Top $10M

A state-court judge in New York has OK’d a $5 million jury awarded against Bryan Cave and a retired former lawyer in a malpractice case.

With pre-verdict interest, which Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe also OK’d, the total amount of the judgment could top $10 million, the New York Law Journal reports.

The case concerns a partner buyout of a now-shuttered apparel business, which turned out to be worth less than the purchasing partner (the law firm’s client) expected. The purchasing partner, Herbert Feinberg, arbitrated a dispute over the value of the business, not only winning nothing but obtaining an arbitration decision that he hadn’t relied on a financial statement by the company’s accounting firm when determining how much the business was worth.

Febinburg then sued the accountant for malpractice, only to be told by a New York state court that many of his claims were estopped by the arbitration ruling, the article recounts. He then sued Bryan Cave, contending that attorney Jerome Boros should have advised him to enter into an agreement with his former business partner that would have preserved his right to sue the accountant by limiting the effect of the arbitration ruling.

A spokesman for the law firm could not be reached, the legal publication says. However, defense attorney Edward Friedman of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman says an appeal is planned.

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