Anthony P. DeMichele successfully defended an attorney and his firm at arbitration in a matter involving claims of professional negligence.  The plaintiff was a musician and music producer who claimed that he entered into a contract with a legendary music artist to produce for distribution original songs written and performed by the legendary music artist.  Plaintiff claimed that the legendary music artist breached the contract, and as a result, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the alleged breach of contract.  Plaintiff retained the services of several attorneys to pursue his breach of contract claim.  After a default judgment was obtained in the breach of contract claim, Plaintiff presented his case for damages at an assessment of damages hearing in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.  However, after hearing testimony from expert witnesses for both Plaintiff and the legendary music artist, the judge determined that no monetary damages were suffered and awarded no damages to the plaintiff.  As a result of that decision, the plaintiff filed suit against all of the attorneys who represented him in his breach of contract claim.  Plaintiff alleged that, due to a poorly drafted complaint and failure to present sufficient evidence at the assessment of damages hearing, he suffered the loss of the monetary damages he was entitled to under the terms of the contract he entered into with the legendary music artist.  Mr. DeMichele and Mr. Brien represented the attorney and his firm who handled the assessment of damages hearing.

With regard to the allegedly deficient complaint, Plaintiff argued that the default judgment should have been opened and the complaint amended in order to correct the alleged deficiencies.  Defendants countered that it was an appropriate strategy to preserve the default judgment and not open the default judgment in order to amend the allegedly deficient complaint.  Further, Defendants argued that sufficient expert testimony and exhibits were presented at the assessment of damages hearing, which were entered into evidence without objection from opposing counsel.  Defendants also presented evidence that any potential judgment in the underlying breach of contract claim was uncollectible because the estate for the legendary music artist had no assets.  The inability to collect a judgment is an affirmative defense to a legal malpractice claim.  The arbitration panel agreed with Defendants arguments and entered an award in favor of Defendants on all claims.