Puder v. Beuchel

A Divorce litigant’s malpractice claim is barred by their acknowledgment of the settlement and expressed satisfaction with their attorney at the time of settlement.

In a split decision the New Jersey Supreme Court in Puder v. Beuchel, decided June 7, 2005, held that a divorce litigant could not subsequently sue her divorce attorney for alleged deficiencies in a settlement which she had acknowledged as being fair and acceptable.

The Court observed that the public policy of this State strongly encourages the settlement of marital cases. The majority of the Court then ruled that after testifying that the settlement was fair and acceptable when it was placed on the record, the plaintiff was barred form subsequently suing her divorce attorney for malpractice.

The Court held that “a client should not be permitted to settle a case for less than its worth….and then seek to recoup the difference in a malpractice action” against her attorney.