Justice Arlene Bluth


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Defendant law firm sought dismissal of ex-client Soloway’s legal malpractice complaint arising from failed real estate transactions in Canada, with Soloway as buyer, from 2004 to 2006. Kane Kessler PC, via attorney Erwin Lontok (Erwin), represented Soloway. Erwin resigned from Kane in 2006, and eventually formed Ebert Lontok LLC (Lontok) in 2013, but was continuously Soloway’s attorney. Soloway fired Kane in 2006 while transactions were still pending.Talon faxed letters to Kane identifying new closing dates on three units in 2012, and despite not being Soloway’s attorney since 2006, contacted Soloway to inform him of the notices, and also told Lontok of them. Soloway argued as Kane and its attorney Berger accepted notices from Talon, they were estopped from claiming they did not act as his counsel. The court disagreed finding New York’s statute of limitations for legal malpractice was three years, and Soloway commenced suit more than three years after any alleged malpractice occurred. Thus, the action was time-barred against Kane and Berger, who the court noted had no continuing duty of representation. Also, as Lontok was not in existence at the time of the alleged malpractice, it could not be held liable. Hence, dismissal was granted against all defendants.