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A New York law firm can be held liable for the failure of a Florida firm it retained to file a client’s claim to more than $1.2 million from a Florida estate, an appeals court decided on July 17.

Client Alice Whalen was not aware that her Albany firm, DeGraff, Foy, Conway, Holt-Harris & Mealey, was going to arrange for the Florida firm to file the claim when the estate of Julius Gerzof opened in Florida in 1996, and she relied “completely” on DeGraff Foy to stake her claim to the money, the Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled.

But the Florida firm, Bailey, Hunt, Jones and Busto, and its attorney Scott Cagan, from whom DeGraff Foy sought assistance, failed to file the claim, according to the court.

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