For Immediate Release: July 16, 2015
Contact: Craig M. Sandberg, 312.263.7249, firstname.lastname@example.org
Freehold, NJ – A Superior Court judge, following a thorough voir dire examination requested by the defendants' counsel and, thereafter, conducted by both the trial court and defendants' counsel, qualified Craig M. Sandberg to his offer his expert opinion.
Mr. Sandberg was retained to determine whether the defendant-attorney violated his duty of care to the plaintiffs. Generally speaking, in New Jersey, a lawyer is required to exercise that “degree of reasonable knowledge and skill that lawyers of ordinary ability and skill possess and exercise.” St. Pius X House of Retreats v. Camden Dioc., 88 N.J. 571, 588 (1982). Mr. Sandberg concluded, inter alia, the defendant-attorney violated his duty of care if, as the plaintiffs contended, he failed to timely or accurately convey to the plaintiffs an offer to purchase real estate property. Further, that duty would have been breached if the defendant-attorney failed to explain the merit and value of the offer to permit the plaintiffs to make informed decision about whether to accept, reject, or counter the offer.
In failing to do so, defendant-attorney violated New Jersey Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.4(c), as well as New Jersey caselaw precedent. See Sommers v. McKinney, 287 N.J. Super. 1, 11-12 (N.J. Super. A.D. 1996) (“Once settlement discussions commenced, [the attorney] was obliged to communicate all offers to [his clients]. He was also obliged to give [them] a full and accurate assessment of the case in support of an in defense of [their] claims.”). Further, RPC 1.2 (Scope of Representation) advises that “[a] lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision whether to accept an offer of settlement of a matter.” In this case, had a full and frank discussion taken place regarding accepting the substantial purchase offer, then the attorney's role in that hourly-billed matter would have discontinued shortly thereafter.
WHO: Craig M. Sandberg was retained as an expert witness by the plaintiffs in this legal malpractice.
WHERE: Superior Court of New Jersey Monmouth Vicinage, 71 Monument Park, Freehold, NJ 07728