The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s attorney, Laraby, and Laraby’s law firm, must be disqualified in this medical malpractice action. Laraby had represented the defendant in this case in a matter involving substantially similar allegations of malpractice:
The plaintiff in the prior representation, whose baby had suffered from essentially the same injuries as plaintiff’s son here, made many of the same allegations of negligence and malpractice against defendant as plaintiff does in this case. Both cases involved whether defendant properly monitored the patients and the babies and made proper decisions regarding oxytocin administration, and whether defendant made the proper decision to continue with vaginal delivery instead of proceeding with a cesarean section. Alternatively, defendant established that Laraby received specific, confidential information in the prior litigation that is substantially related to the present litigation … . In particular, Laraby had access to the litigation strategy to defend defendant against the allegations of malpractice, including speaking with and receiving reports of expert witnesses. Brandice M.C. v Wilder, 2023 NY Slip Op 05871, Fourth Dept 11-17-23
Practice Point: Here plaintiff’s attorney had represented the defendant in this medical malpractice action in a case where the issues were substantially the same. The motion to disqualify the attorney and the attorney’s small law firm should have been granted.