Fisher v. Affirmative Mortgage Group
A plaintiff who is not an attorney may not be qualified to serve as an expert on the standard of care for legal malpractice. The plaintiff, Charles Fisher, sued Attorney Deborah Dombek and the Mendelsohn Law Offices, alleging that they committed legal malpractice. Fisher also sued Debra Bishop and her mortgage brokerage firm, Affirmative Mortgage. Bishop disclosed herself as an expert on July 29, 2012. In response, Fisher decided to disclose himself as an expert on August 2. A court scheduling order provided that Fisher was required to disclose experts on or before June 4, 2012, and the attorneys moved to strike the plaintiff as an expert. The court found that Fisher's late disclosure of himself as an expert prejudiced the defendant attorneys, because trial is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2012. Permitting Fisher to serve as an expert would delay the trial. The court also found that Fisher, who admits that he is not licensed as an attorney, is not qualified to act as an expert about the standard of care in a legal-malpractice case. The court granted the attorneys' motion to strike, which the court construed as a motion to preclude Fisher's testimony. With respect to Fisher's claims against Debra Bishop and her mortgage brokerage firm, one late disclosure does not entitle another party to disclose late. To the extent that Fisher intends to testify as an expert in the mortgage brokerage business, the court granted Bishop's motion to preclude his testimony.