Conflict of InterestBreach of Fiduciary Duty

In Salvemini v. Spector, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2942 (App. Div. Dec. 13, 2013), certif. denied, 217 N.J. 303 (2014), the Appellate Division rejected a legal malpractice claim filed by sons against their father’s estate planning attorney. When widower Mr. Salvemini contemplated remarriage, he and his sons went to attorneys Spector & Dimin, who recommended an estate plan involving transferring ownership of Mr. Salvemini’s properties to LLCs. Later, after Mr. Salvemini remarried and conflicts developed, his sons and the LLCs filed suit against the law firm, claiming that its representation of the father and sons was a nonwaivable conflict of interest. After losing on summary judgment motion and at trial, the law firm appealed to the Appellate Division.

The Appellate Division found in favor of the law firm, concluding that the transfers of real property were not traditional commercial transactions, but were part of Mr. Salvemini’s estate plan. Although a conflict later developed between the father and sons, the law firm’s representation of the parties to the transactions did not constitute a concurrent conflict of interest or breach of fiduciary duty.

The Supreme Court denied certification.

The case is annexed here – Salvemini v. Spector

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