Copyright (c) 1995 Pace Law Review
Pace Law Review
NOTE: KLEEMAN V. RHEINGOLD: THERE ARE NO SMALL MISTAKES - A PROCESS
SERVER'S NEGLIGENCE LEADS TO THE CREATION OF A NONDELEGABLE DUTY
15 Pace L. Rev. 871
Barbara S. Goldstein *
Talk about having a bad day! Have you ever asked someone to give another person a message? The person you were trying to contact probably got the message. Well, not everyone is so lucky. In one recent instance, the intended recipient claimed not to get the message. The sender did not make a federal case of it, but she took it to the highest court of the state.
Kleeman v. Rheingold 1 should have been a medical malpractice suit. Unfortunately, the process server mistakenly served the papers on the physician's secretary rather than the physician himself. 2 The doctor raised the affirmative defense of lack of jurisdiction and the case was dismissed. 3 When Mrs. Kleeman attempted to have the papers served on the doctor again, the statute of limitations had run and the medical mal practice suit was barred. 4 Mrs. Kleeman, having been deprived of her remedy, brought a second suit for legal malpractice against the law firm she had hired to pursue the medical malpractice claim. 5
It is Mrs. Kleeman's second suit that is the focus of this Note. The issue raised before the New York Court of Appeals was whether the attorney could be held liable for the negligence of the process server he hired. 6 The court answered this question affirmatively by creating a new nondelegable duty. Mrs. Kleeman's attorney was held liable because he had the responsibility of insuring proper service of process. 7 Part II of this ...
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