The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that defendants-attorneys’ motion to dismiss the complaint in this legal malpractice action should have been granted because the transcript of the settlement proceeding utterly refuted the allegations in the complaint. Plaintiff alleged it was coerced into settling the action:
A motion to dismiss a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1) “may be appropriately granted only where the documentary evidence utterly refutes plaintiff’s factual allegations, conclusively establishing a defense as a matter of law” … . …
A legal malpractice cause of action “is viable, despite settlement of the underlying action, if it is alleged that settlement of the action was effectively compelled by the mistakes of counsel” … .
In support of their motion, the defendants submitted the transcript of the court proceeding setting forth the terms of the settlement of the underlying action, which conclusively established that the plaintiff was not coerced into settling … . The plaintiff’s allegations that it was coerced into settling the underlying action were utterly refuted by the admissions of its principals during the settlement proceeding that they had discussed the terms of the settlement with their attorneys, understood the settlement terms, and had no questions about them; that they were entering into the settlement freely, of their own volition, and without undue influence or coercion; and that they were satisfied with their legal representation … . Glenwayne Dev. Corp v James J. Corbett, P.C., 2019 NY Slip Op 06069, Second Dept 8-7-19