Summary Judgment – Legal Malpractice – Palm Beach County

West Palm Beach Partners Jonathan Vine and Sheena Maldonado recently obtained an Order Granting Summary Judgment in a legal malpractice action brought by a former client against her attorney and his law firm arising from a dissolution of marriage action.

Plaintiff alleged the attorney committed legal malpractice when he failed to file certain motions and take certain action in a dissolution of marriage action on her behalf to ensure Plaintiff could collect from Plaintiff’s former husband a substantial equitable distribution award provided to her in a Final Dissolution of Marriage Order. The attorney argued that during his limited representation of Plaintiff, the Final Dissolution of Marriage Order was not a final money judgment and thus, the alleged motions and actions Plaintiff asserted should have been taken by the attorney could not have been accomplished unless and until Plaintiff obtained a money judgment. Further, the attorney argued that there was no evidence that the attorney was the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s damages because there was no evidence that if the attorney taken the actions Plaintiff and her experts testified the attorney should have taken, the outcome would have been any different.

The Court agreed and held the attorney did not breach a duty owed to Plaintiff because Plaintiff did not obtain a money judgment until after the attorney withdrew and Plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to establish that there was a genuine issue of material fact with respect to the causation element of her legal malpractice claim.

Jonathan and Sheena also obtained an Order Granting Summary Judgment and Final Judgment on the law firm’s Counterclaim for Breach of Contract against the Plaintiff for her failure to pay attorney’s fees owed to the law firm.

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