Wolf Block Settles Legal Malpractice Case Over Prenup
The legal malpractice trial between businessman Alan Potamkin and Wolf Block didn't go off as scheduled Monday in the wake of a settlement the parties finalized earlier this month.
Potamkin had sued defunct Wolf Block and several of its partners after the prenuptial agreement he signed in 1983 with his ex-wife didn't protect his assets as he had desired when the two divorced under Florida law a few years ago.
Potamkin's attorney, Joseph Podraza of Sprague & Sprague, said the terms of the settlement were confidential. He said it was reached in November after a second round of mediation with Thomas B. Rutter of ADR Options and finalized earlier this month.
Nicholas Centrella of Conrad O'Brien represented Wolf Block and said only that the case would not be moving forward.
The trial had been pushed back at least once and was scheduled for jury selection before Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark I. Bernstein on Monday. The case, which was filed via a writ of summons in March 2010, had made its way to the appellate courts when a dispute arose over the amount of discovery Wolf Block had to produce about its family law practice and experience with prenuptial agreements.
The settlement comes before the Pennsylvania Superior Court had a chance to rule on arguments it heard in 2012 as to whether Wolf Block had to disclose letters between its attorneys and its insurer about the merits of Potamkin's claims.
Along with the attorney-client privilege issue regarding the insurance letters, Wolf Block also appealed the trial court's ruling that the law firm had to turn over 30 years' worth of prenuptial agreements it drafted for other clients along with years' worth of data on its family law work. As part of those discovery requests, Potamkin asked for copies of the prenuptial agreements for other clients with the names redacted.
Wolf Block argued that would require the firm to turn over privileged, private client information. It would also require the firm to go through tens of thousands of boxes to look through 30 years' worth of data. The trial court ordered those documents turned over.
The appeals to the Superior Court were withdrawn by Wolf Block on Dec. 12.
Potamkin argued in his lawsuit that the prenuptial agreement didn't take into account any potential future changes in Florida law or necessary waivers that should have been included, according to the complaint. The agreement was drafted before Florida adopted an equitable distribution law.