Tuesday, June 17, 2014
05/21/14 CORTEZ VS. GINDHART, ESQUIRE A-0430-12T1
05/21/14 CORTEZ VS. GINDHART, ESQUIRE
Plaintiff filed this legal malpractice action against his former attorney after pleading guilty to federal tax evasion charges and serving his sentence. He alleged that, due to his attorney's negligence in failing to negotiate a plea agreement early in the prosecution, he accepted a less favorable plea offer and received a harsher sentence. His complaint was dismissed on the ground that his exoneration on the criminal charge was a pre-requisite to maintaining a legal malpractice action. Because plaintiff did not allege that he suffered a wrongful conviction, proof of exoneration was not required. However, he was required to prove that he suffered actual injury as a result of the alleged attorney negligence. His complaint was properly dismissed because he failed to present competent evidencethat he suffered an actual injury that was proximately caused by his attorney's alleged negligence.