Legal Malpractice Claim Alleging Misconduct During Representation Is Not Duplicative of Fiduciary Duty Claim Alleging Misconduct After Termination of Representation
From Neuman v. Frank, 82 A.D. 3d 1642 (4th Dep’t 2011):
"A cause of action for legal malpractice must be based on the existence of an attorney-client relationship at the time of the alleged malpractice' " (TVGA Eng'g, Surveying, P.C. v Gallick [appeal No. 2], 45 A.D.3d 1252, 1256, 846 N.Y.S.2d 506; see Compis Servs., Inc. v Greenman, 15 AD3d 855, 789 N.Y.S.2d 369, lv denied 4 N.Y.3d 709, 830 N.E.2d 1145, 797 N.Y.S.2d 816). The fiduciary duty of an attorney, however, "extends both to current clients and former clients and thus is broader in scope than a cause of action for legal malpractice" (TVGA Eng'g, Surveying, P.C., 45 AD3d at 1256; see Greene v Greene, 47 NY2d 447, 453, 391 N.E.2d 1355, 418 N.Y.S.2d 379). Thus, a cause of action for legal malpractice based upon alleged misconduct occurring during the attorney's representation of the plaintiff is not duplicative of a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty based upon alleged misconduct occurring after the termination of the representation (see Country Club Partners, LLC v Goldman, 79 AD3d 1389, 1391, 913 N.Y.S.2d 803; Kurman v Schnapp, 73 AD3d 435, 435-436, 901 N.Y.S.2d 17).
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