CSG Law Alert: Damms v. Damms Brings into Focus the Importance of Attorney Diligence During COVID-19 Pandemic

Be sure to check deadlines and read orders carefully, especially in today’s environment.

While once in a while, a court will take pity on you, best not to rely on the mercy of the court. In Damms v. Damms, 2020 WL 1870410, the Appellate Division, “in a close call” saved defendant’s counsel who failed to attend a Rule 4:21A arbitration (because the arbitration was mis-diaried by his office), resulting in a five million dollar award to plaintiff; failed to oppose a motion to confirm the arbitration award; and failed to timely file a notice of trial de novo, filing it one day late (because he misread the order and thought he had two more days to file it).

Despite referring to counsel’s conduct as mind-boggling and pure carelessness, both the trial court and the Appellate Division refused to place the sins of the lawyer on his client and vacated the arbitration award.

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