Jon Campisi Aug. 7, 2012, 8:10am

Two Philadelphia attorneys are facing a legal malpractice claim by a city woman who

claims the lawyers failed to timely perform previously agreed upon work for her, ultimately causing her to lose a real estate investment opportunity.

Jessica McKay, who resides in Philadelphia’s Fishtown section, is suing local attorneys Thomas D. Kenny and Michael Kotik, as well as their firm, the Law Office of Thomas D. Kenny P.C., over claims that the two lawyers didn’t properly assist her in drafting a deed for a piece of property adjacent to the plaintiff’s home that the woman sought to purchase from its owner.

According to the complaint, which was filed Aug. 2 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court by Morton, Pa. attorney Matthew B. Weisberg and Philadelphia attorney Leo M. Mulvihill, Jr., McKay learned in late 2011 of a vacant lot adjacent to her Mercer Street home that was up for sale by its out-of-state owner who was living in Arkansas at the time.

McKay soon tracked down the owner, who agreed to sell the lot to the plaintiff for $1,000.

McKay then drafted an agreement of sale and sent it to the property’s owner, who signed it and returned it to the plaintiff, according to the lawsuit.

McKay, who needed someone to draft the deed, then sought out the defendants’ help; she had found the two lawyers via the Internet, specifically through an advertisement on the website Craigslist as well as at the site

McKay met Kenny in late October of last year, explaining to the defendant that she had a short time in which to finalize the sale of the property, since another potential buyer had expressed interest in the vacant lot.

The plaintiff soon entered into an agreement with the defendants, under which the deed to the property was to be delivered to the lot’s owner by mid November of last year, according to the complaint.

The date when the deed was supposed to have been delivered passed, however, and numerous problems soon ensued, the suit states.

After numerous attempts to reach the defendants, McKay finally met with the two lawyers in early December 2011, at which time they all discussed potential options to deal with the issues, including possibly suing the lot’s owner for the property, the suit states.

Months soon passed with no resolution of the issue, the lawsuit claims, and at no time did the defendants ever offer to refund any legal fees to McKay despite the problems that arose during the attorney-client relationship.

By the time mid February of this year rolled around, McKay was “fed up,” the lawsuit states, and contacted the two defendants to inform them she no longer wanted them working on the matter regarding the vacant lot.

The lawsuit contains counts of professional negligence, malpractice, breach of contract and covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of fiduciary duty.

The complaint accuses the defendants of being aware of the time constraints involved in the matter, but not timely acting on their responsibilities.

“A reasonably prudent attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania should have sent a newly-drafted deed on or before the date he agreed to have the deed sent,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ failure to do so resulted in financial damages to Plaintiff. Defendants and/or their agents deviated from acceptable professional standards by failing to deliver the deed on time, as they agreed to do.”

The suit also accuses the defendants of failing to timely and properly communicate with McKay and failing to appropriately advise her as to the problems with the deed by the date it was due.

McKay seeks $50,000 in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, costs, interest and other court relief.

An arbitration hearing has been scheduled for early April 2013.


The case ID number is 120704581. 

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