Supplemental Jurisdiction — Legal Malpractice Claim

In Achtman v. Kirby, McInerney & Squire, LLP, 464 F.3d 328, 334-36 (2d Cir. 2006), the Second Circuit held that the District Court could exercise supplemental jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1367) over a subsequent legal malpractice claim asserted against plaintiffs' counsel concerning their representation in a federal securities class action because "the present malplpractice claims and the underlying securities claims 'substantially overlap,' creating a common nucleus of operative fact." Id. at 336. Last week, Judge Denny Chin of the Southern District of New York followed this line of reasoning to hold that the Court could exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a legal malpractice claim brought by a convicted defendant against the lawyer who served as his counsel in a prior federal criminal case. Sash v. Schwartz, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 851 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 4, 2007). The Court observed, inter alia, that "[t]his Court is responsible for the conduct of criminal cases in this courthouse and the quality of represntation provided by officers of this Court." This factor is consistent with the class action precedent of Achtman. Query whether it is essential to the decision. If so, it would serve as something of a brake to extending Achtman to many other private disputes.

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