Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gurski v. Rosenblum and Filan, LLC case brief

Gurski v. Rosenblum and Filan, LLC case brief summary
885 A.2d 163 (2005)

Defendants, a law firm, appealed the judgment of the Superior Court in the Judicial District of Stamford (Connecticut) in favor of plaintiff client. The client brought a legal malpractice action against the law firm, asserting that its negligence and breach of contract proximately caused him injury in the amount of a $ 152,000 judgment. The client had assigned his interest in the suit to the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action against him.

The client was a podiatrist and had thought the law firm was handling a medical malpractice suit for him, but a default judgment was entered against him.

The issue in the case, namely, whether a client was permitted to assign a legal malpractice claim or the proceeds from such a claim to the client's adversary in an underlying litigation, was a question of first impression.

The court held that the assignment made in the case was barred by public policy but stopped short of holding that any such assignment was barred.


  • The court found that the plaintiff in the medical malpractice action sued the client alleging that the client had been negligent in his treatment of her. 
  • In the client's legal malpractice action, in order to prevail, he would have had to prove that he had not been negligent and that he would have prevailed in the medical malpractice action but for the law firm's negligence. 
  • Once the client assigned his interest to the plaintiff in the medical malpractice action, however, the interests of those two former adversaries merged, and the plaintiff in the medical malpractice action had a vested interest in the jury's determination that the client had not been negligent.

The court reversed the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court with direction to render judgment for the law firm.

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