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Earlier this month, a panel of New Jersey judges reversed a lower court's decision, thereby reinstating a lawsuit against Superior Court Judge Mary F. Thurber for legal malpractice. The lawsuit alleges that the judge mishandled an estate dispute while working in private practice.

The complaint against the sitting judge claims that Thurber cost the plaintiffs millions of dollars, in addition to Thurber's legal fee of over $900,000, by giving ill-considered and ultimately damaging advice that was tantamount to professional malpractice.

Seats on the New York Mercantile Exchange in Dispute

Judge Thurber, who now hears family law cases in Hackensack, was originally retained by the executor of the estate of Salvatore John Calcaterra to represent the plaintiffs in their dispute with the decedent's wife. Plaintiffs claim that Thurber insisted that the estate sell off two of the seats on the New York Mercantile Exchange possessed by the decedent at the time of his death in order to pay the estate's debts.

After the seats were sold and their value skyrocketed to a total value of approximately $10 million, the plaintiffs realized that their value had been wildly miscalculated. According to Gerald Monahan, the attorney representing the plaintiffs (both daughters of Calcaterra), "Nobody wanted to sell those seats. And there was no legal necessity to sell those seats."

The Appeals Court seemed to agree, ruling that "the judge appears not to have considered the possibility that plaintiffs, if better informed, might have been able to persuade their brother to adopt a different course."

How Do I Know If I've been a Victim of Legal Malpractice?

Understanding the duty of care that your attorney owes you can be a difficult, time-consuming, and confusing process. Lawyers should be held accountable for the quality of their work, but it's not always easy to know when your case has suffered as a result of your attorney's negligence.

If you think that you have been hurt due to legal malpractice, you should speak to a qualified expert at Smith & Doran today. Call us at (973) 292-0016 to schedule a free consultation.

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