June 14, 2010
Affidavit Of Merit
The New Jersey Appellate Division agreed with a Law Division judge's conclusion that a plaintiff in a legal malpractice action is obligated to serve a timely affidavit of merit on the defendant law firms. The court nonetheless vacated the dismissal of the action on equitable grounds
particularly because the case law in our State was unsettled to date as to whether an affidavit of merit is required in such circumstances, and the federal decisions on the subject attempting to apply New Jersey law have taken arguably different approaches.
Two law firms were sued for the alleged lapses of a now-deceased attorney who had worked for both firms. The complaint alleges that the attorney failed to assure that renewal fees necessary to maintain the client's patent were paid, resulting in the expiration of the patent and the client's inability to get the patent reinstated. The client manufactures and sells athletic apparel and equipment primarily for lacrosse. (Mike Frisch)
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