Proskauer’s effort to avoid trial in a $636 million malpractice claim failed yesterday as Suffolk County Superior Court Justice Kenneth Salinger denied the Biglaw firm’s motion for summary judgment. There are a lot of reasons laid out in the order, though one detail that doesn’t earn a starring role in the opinion might be the most problematic for the firm.
The action, brought by former Proskauer client Robert Adelman, alleges that he missed out on his share of a multibillion-dollar hedge fund because the underlying agreement allowed the fund’s manager to unceremoniously boot Adelman. Now represented by Susman Godfrey, Adelman blames Proskauer attorneys for overlooking the offending clause. Per Reuters:
Adelman accused the firm of committing a “botched cut-and-paste” job with the partnership agreement. He cited handwritten notes from Proskauer partner Sarah Cherry, who allegedly drew brackets around the key provision that gave Aghazadeh broad authority and wrote the word “fuck” next to it, indicating a mistake.
Maybe they were just admiring their work. You know… like, “fuuuuuck, man!” Something like that? No? Fine.
For its part, Proskauer, represented by Williams & Connolly, argued that it can’t be blamed for the actions of the fund’s manager. That the fund’s manager could only take those actions based on the clause in the agreement apparently loomed a bit larger for the court. At least large enough to turn over to a jury.
The case advances to a July pre-trial conference unless the parties work out a settlement.
If they do settle, maybe give that agreement a good once-over before signing.
Law firm Proskauer must face trial in $636 million legal malpractice case [Reuters]
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