Traub Lieberman Attorneys Lisa M. Rolle and Chelsea Four-Rosenbaum Obtain Dismissal in Westchester County Legal Malpractice Action

Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP partner Lisa M. Rolle and associate Chelsea Four-Rosenbaum successfully defended a law firm against claims brought by a former client seeking damages for the alleged failure to commence a legal action in timely manner. In the underlying action, plaintiffs sought monetary damages for property damage after the water company’s testing allegedly resulted in a pipe bursting inside plaintiffs’ place of business. The underlying action was dismissed for failure to serve a timely notice of claim on the water company, as required by statute, which was the basis of the malpractice claim.

Ms. Rolle and Mrs. Four-Rosenbaum established that plaintiffs were unable to prove any correlation between the work performed by the water company and the water damage that ensued several days later. As such, plaintiffs were unable to prove that they would have prevailed in the underlying action “but for” the law firm’s alleged negligence in failing to file a timely notice of claim.  

Ms. Rolle and Mrs. Four-Rosenbaum filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that absent “but for” causation, plaintiffs were unable to establish a necessary element of their malpractice claim. Relying on plaintiffs’ testimony, corroborated by two water company employees, Ms. Rolle and Mrs. Four-Rosenbaum argued that there was no evidence the water company performed work on the date of the alleged incident and that plaintiffs’ own expert opined that the water damage was caused by rapid introduction of stress into the pipe, which caused it to crack. Accordingly, plaintiffs would have been unable to prove the water company caused their damages, even if a timely notice of claim had been filed.  TLSS’ motion was granted, dismissing all claims against the law firm.