A special referee has rejected a claim for $373,000 in legal fees for unusual and contentious litigation stemming from a divorce proceeding in Westchester, N.Y.

The referee, James A. Montagnino, said that W. Robert Curtis, an attorney in Manhattan, had created work for himself, and headache for his client, by failing to advise her that it would be “improvident” to sue her former divorce attorney for malpractice before the attorney had given the woman’s file to her new matrimonial lawyer.

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