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In Commercial Lawsuit Joseph Toddy Secures Victory for Keystone Freight Corp Against Employment Law Firm

August 10, 2017

On August 10, 2017, in Morris County, New Jersey, Joseph Toddy won a legal malpractice trial on behalf of client, Keystone Freight Corp, against National Employment Law Firm Jackson Lewis. Toddy, a partner at Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy P.C., who concentrates his practice in the areas of Professional Liability and Discrimination Claims, stated this was a long drawn out battle that began in 2010. Toddy stated that his client feels rightfully vindicated that Jackson Lewis failed to properly represent its interest in the matter of Michael Foster v. Keystone Freight Corp, a Federal Court matter filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which was based on an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the Foster case, Jackson Lewis failed to secure relevant documents, including Foster’s Social Security Disability file and previous employment records, which were specifically requested by Keystone Freight’s Senior Vice President of Risk Management, William Cluver. Jackson Lewis also filed a specious summary judgement motion that cost $35,000 to prepare and argue. Internal Jackson Lewis emails called their own summary judgment motion “absurd”. Jackson Lewis had been retained through an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy which had a $50,000 deductible. Since Keystone Freight Corp had to spend $35,000 in attorney fees to Jackson Lewis for the summary judgment motion, Keystone Freight Corp lost control of the handling case to its Employment Practices Liability carrier.

Also, Jackson Lewis attorneys committed malpractice by failing to provide Keystone Freight Corp with copies of Attorney Status Reports sent to the insurance carrier. These Status Reports, in the month before trial, turned dramatically negative and indicated that Keystone Freight only had a 40% chance of winning the trial, with a probable verdict in the suit of $200,000 to $300,000 and probable attorney fees of $150,000 to $200,000. These Attorney Suit Status Reports eventually caused the carrier to send Keystone Freight a “hammer letter” on the very eve of trial and forced Keystone Freight to settle the case for $50,000.

The Jury, after deliberating less than one hour, found Jackson Lewis negligent, and found Jackson Lewis proximately caused damages of $94,717. The court has subsequently awarded interest in the amount of $2,404, for a total award of $97,121.

The damages were based on the disgorgement of Keystone Freight’s retention amount of $50,000 and the subsequent increase in Keystone Freight’s employment practices liability insurance of $44,717 for the following year. While the damages were seemingly small, Cluver stated that we wanted to prove a point that law firms cannot deceive their clients and force them into unwanted settlements. Attorney Joseph Toddy stated that he wishes Jackson Lewis had fought for his client as hard in the underlying Foster case as they did defending themselves in the legal malpractice case. Toddy further stated that under New Jersey Law his client is entitled to attorney fees and he expects to file a substantial fee petition.




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