NY Court Enforces Arbitration Agreement in Engagement Letter
By Will Jordan
Client retained Attorney to represent him in two matters involving his service as a trustee. Client signed an engagement letter that provided that Attorney and Client would arbitrate “any dispute arising out of or relating to this agreement and/or the legal services rendered hereunder.” Client filed a lawsuit against Attorney, alleging legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. Attorney moved to dismiss on the basis of the arbitration clause. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding that “the arbitration provision of the engagement letter was clear, explicit, and unequivocal, and the legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action fall within the broad scope of this provision.”
Menche v. Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP, 2015 N.Y. Slip Op. 04617 (N.Y. Supreme Court, Appellate Division, June 3, 2015).
See here for the full opinion.
See here for a good article on the pros and cons of arbitration clauses in engagement letters.