An appeal court in New Jersey found that there is no law in terms of which a law firm can be held liable for a “negligent referral” for referring a former personal injury client to another lawyer who mishandled the claim. The plaintiff alleged that the referral lawyer who acted in the personal injury matter focused on criminal defences and failed to pursue the civil claim with the standard of care required. The court found that there was neither a factual nor legal basis for recovery against the referring lawyers who neither sought nor got any referral fee. The court refused to recognise a new cause of action for negligent referral.
[Trevor Sheppard v Frank J. Lentz et al., case no L-2083-13, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division]