On March 7, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously decided Gere v. Louis, 209 N.J. 486 (2012), a decision that has significant malpractice implications for matrimonial attorneys. In Gere, the Court narrowed the “equity based exception” created in Puder v. Buechel, 183 N.J. 428 (2005), which provides attorneys with an affirmative defense to a malpractice claim following a former client’s decision to settle a dispute over the validity and enforceability of her divorce settlement, where the challenge is based upon the former attorney’s negligence. In Gere, the Court trimmed the application of Puder by allowing a malpractice case to move forward despite the fact that the client settled a post-settlement dispute that arose out of an alleged error by her former attorneys.
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