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Thursday, January 15, 2015

MORTGAGE GRADER, INC. VS. WARD & OLIVO, L.L.P., AND JOHN OLIVO, ESQ., AND JOHN WARD, ESQ. A-3777-13T3

MORTGAGE GRADER, INC. VS. WARD & OLIVO, L.L.P., AND
          JOHN OLIVO, ESQ., AND JOHN WARD, ESQ.
A-3777-13T3
In this legal malpractice case, in which plaintiff asserts claims against two attorneys who practiced law as a limited
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liability partnership ("LLP"), we hold that the direct claims against defendant John Ward must be dismissed because Ward is not vicariously liable for the alleged malpractice of his partner John Olivo. Ward was shielded from liability under the Uniform Partnership Act, N.J.S.A. 42:1A-1 to -56, and the LLP did not revert to a general partnership, as the judge had concluded, notwithstanding the LLP's failure to maintain professional liability insurance covering the claims in this lawsuit, as required by Rule 1:21-1C(a)(3). We also hold that plaintiff failed to comply with the Affidavit of Merit Statute ("AMS"), N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-26 to -29, by not serving an affidavit of merit on Ward or otherwise substantially complying with the AMS.