Update #3 (June 6, 2012): Two years of uncertainty from a pending claim of legal malpractice is settled while the U.S. District Court’s decision in favor of the Maslon firm was pending on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals. The appellate briefs are here and here.
For many reasons, legal malpractice claims are some of the most difficult claims to win in civil litigation. It is not difficult to prove that lawyers are human (generally). It is not difficult to prove that they make mistakes (ever). What is often extremely difficult to establish, for a host of reasons, is that a person’s damages were caused by a lawyer’s professional malpractice.
If you think you or someone close to you has been harmed by attorney malpractice, call for a free consultation ((612) 234-7349).
Update #2 (January 31, 2012): Minnesota Litigator jumped the gun with the statement that the Maslon law firm had defeated a malpractice claim. Not just yet. Plaintiffs’ counsel agreed to dismiss the still viable claims after U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson’s October 2011 order on defendant’s motion to dismiss so it could seek immediate appeal to the U.S. Court of Appealsfor the Eighth Circuit on those claims that were dismissed.
Update #1 (October 21, 2011): Minnesota Litigator recently covered a legal malpractice claim brought against Minnesota “Big Law,” and, this week, a decision in another legal malpractice action against another large Twin Cities firm came down.
Maslon escaped a legal malpractice claim because plaintiffs, relying on the fact that they brought suit in Nevada, forewent Minnesota’s requirements on the “affidavit of expert identification.” (The case was transferred out of Nevada by the federal district court there to Minnesota.)
After a lengthy choice-of-law analysis, U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson (D. Minn.), while acknowledging the harshness of the rule, nevertheless held that the Minnesota “expert disclosure statute” was applicable in this case before her and required dismissal of the legal malpractice claim against Maslon with prejudice (and plaintiffs’ additional claims “derivative” of the malpractice claim).
However, some of plaintiffs’ claims (aiding/abetting breach of fiduciary duty, aiding/abetting misrepresentations and omissions) survived Maslon’s motion to dismiss.
Original Post (July 30, 2010): For transactional lawyers in particular, there is inevitable uncertainty when a transaction concerns dealings out of state as to when, exactly, one is out of bounds, that is, when one is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in the out-of-state jurisdiction (assuming, of course, the lawyer is not licensed in that other state).
And what happens when the out-of-state transaction did not go so well and the Minnesota lawyer finds herself (or her firm) sued in the foreign land?
The Minnesota law firm of Maslon, Borman, Edelman & Brand has the misfortune of first-hand experience. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (Gloria M. Navarro, J.) determined that the Court did have personal jurisdiction over the firm. On the other hand, the Court concluded that the case should be transferred to the District of Minnesota, where it is now before U.S. Dist. Judge Susan R. Nelson (D. Minn.).
(Query: will the Minnesota rule requiring an affidavit of expert review for legal malpractice actions be tacked onto the case? Under Ferens v. John Deere, presumably not. So Plaintiff’s unsuccessful attempt to sue the case out in Nevada was perhaps not a complete failure.) (UPDATE: This issue was addressed at length by Judge Nelson in her 10/18/11 Order and the answer is that the affidavit was required.)