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NY Appeals Court Overturns $5M Malpractice Verdict Against Bryan Cave in Collateral Estoppel Case

Posted Sep 12, 2012 11:14 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New York appeals court has overturned a $5.1 million malpractice award against Bryan Cave and one of its former lawyers that had ballooned to $10.6 million with interest.

The Appellate Division, First Department ruled on Tuesday, the New York Law Journal reports. The plaintiff, Herbert Feinberg, sued the law firm after an arbitration panel ruled against him in a dispute over the valuation of a business, and a New York judge ruled the arbitration findings precluded Feinberg’s subsequent suit for accounting malpractice.

Feinberg was represented in the arbitration by a lawyer whose firm became part of Bryan Cave in a merger, the story says. Feinberg contended the lawyer should have advised him he could preserve his right to sue the accounting firm by signing an agreement with his opponent in the arbitration, a former business partner who sold his interest in the company to Feinberg.

The appeals court said there was no liability because Feinberg and the former business partner could not have limited the estoppel effect of the arbitration in Feinberg’s later suit against an accounting firm that had reviewed the finances of the company. The arbitration panel had found Feinberg did not rely on the accounting firm’s assessment when he bought the business.

The New York Law Journal linked to the opinion.

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