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$________ Legal Malpractice – Failure to investigate underlying negligent security claim before entering in $________ pre-suit of underlying case – Plaintiff assaulted with baseball bat by unknown assailant who gained access through unlocked side entrance of apartment building

New York County, NY

This was a legal malpractice case involving a 47-year-old unemployed plaintiff who was allegedly attacked by two unknown assailants who gained access to his apartment building through an unlocked and unmonitored side door. The plaintiff contended, in the legal malpractice action, that the defendant attorney negligently settled the claim prior to suit with the landlord for $________, and that the defendant attorney failed to adequately investigate the claim before resolving the claim with the landlord. The plaintiff, who signed the release, testified that by doing so, he didn’t understand that he was settling the underlying case for $________. The plaintiff maintained that after he went to meet his children at the school bus stop, and learned that they went home with a neighbor, he went back to his apartment building after stopping at a bodega and liquor store, and was the victim of the assault.

The defendant attorney contended that an adequate investigation was conducted, and that the proofs strongly showed that the plaintiff was not the victim of an assault, but had fallen down the interior steps because he was intoxicated.The defendant maintained the case was unwinnable because the plaintiff, who had a BAC of .25 at the time of the incident, was found at the bottom of the interior stairs, and had told many inconsistencies about how the incident happened. The defendant further supported that the testimony of the plaintiff that only slightly more than 15 minutes elapsed between the time he left the school bus stop until he was assaulted was unbelievable, because he had stopped at a bodega and liquor store in the interim, and consumed a very significant amount of Southern Comfort. The defendant also pointed out that there were several references in the hospital chart that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by a fall down the stairs, not an assault ,there were no witnesses to the alleged assault, which happened during the middle of the day, during a high-traffic time, there was no unlocked side entrance, no proofs that alleged assailants entered through a side entrance, and the plaintiff admitted that the apartment building had working front door locks and a working intercom system. The plaintiff maintained that although he was found at the bottom of the stairs, his shirt was pulled up over his head, and that this evidence was more consistent with an assault. The plaintiff also maintained that the arm fractures were defensive wounds that were sustained when he was attacked with a baseball bat. The plaintiff further contended that the fact that nobody was willing to act as a witness of the attack was not surprising. The plaintiff also contended that his apparent inability to estimate times was far from dispositive. The plaintiff supported that he will suffer permanent pain because of the injuries sustained in the incident.The jury found that the defendant attorney was negligent. The jury also found that the plaintiff was the victim of an assault, and that the negligence of the landlord was a substantial factor in the assault. The jury then awarded $________.

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