Friday, May 22, 2020

The Long Arm of the Law Hales NY Attorney Into Court in Pennsylvania


In the legal malpractice case of Rock v. Russo, No. 7605-CV-2019 (C.P. Monroe Co. March 6, 2020 Zulick, J.), the court addressed issues pertaining to jurisdiction over a non-resident under the long-arm statute and based upon minimum contacts by the Defendant attorney in Pennsylvania. 

According to the Opinion, the New York attorney was representing the Plaintiff in a personal injury matter arising out of an incident that occurred in Pennsylvania. 

The attorney allegedly initially represented the Plaintiff and pursued the claim but then allegedly advised the Plaintiff that he was terminating his representation. According to the Plaintiff, the New York attorney allegedly mistakenly advised her on the applicable statute of limitation and, as a result, the Plaintiff was barred from pursuing her claim.

The Plaintiff filed this legal malpractice suit. The Defendant responded with Preliminary Objections to the Complaint, arguing, in part, that the court could not execute jurisdiction over the New York attorney or his firm because the Defendant did not have sufficient minimum contacts with Pennsylvania. 

While the court noted that the Defendants had demonstrated that there had been no continuous and systematic business contacts by the firm within Pennsylvania, the court still found that the Defendants availed themselves to the foreign state and established minimum contact to support in personam jurisdiction by undertaking the representation of a client who had been injured in Pennsylvania. As such, the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections were overruled. 

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.   


Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (May 12, 2020).

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