Attorney's negligence lawsuit vs. dismissed, may be refiled in New York state court

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 22, 2017

Attorney's professional negligence action versus legal website dismissed, may be refiled in New York state court

PHILADELPHIA – Per order of a state court judge, a professional negligence litigation from a Philadelphia attorney versus a website connecting potential clients to prospective legal counsel, will now likely be heard in a New York state court.

In preliminary objections filed March 9 by John J. O’Brien III, Lawyer.Com asserted the website’s terms of use when new members register mandate all site users to accept the legal jurisdiction of New York State.

An attached exhibit which includes Lawyer.Com’s terms of use read, “The terms of use shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York without regard to its conflict of law provisions. You and Company agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within the State of New York.”

Therefore, O’Brien requested the case be transferred to a New York state court.

However, on April 6, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris ordered not the transfer of the case, but the dismissal of the litigation without prejudice, so that the plaintiff may re-file it in the “proper jurisdiction.”

Attorney Joel J. Kofsky of Philadelphia and his self-titled law firm initially filed suit on Jan. 16 in state court in Philadelphia, against Lawyer.Com, LLC of Whitehall.

“On or about Nov. 1, 2014, plaintiffs and defendant entered into a contract, where the plaintiff were to pay $99 per month to Lawyer.Com and the plaintiffs would be showcased as a personal injury attorney in the Greater Philadelphia area,” the lawsuit reads.

“Parties herein entered into a written fee agreement providing for defendant’s representation of plaintiffs and setting forth the terms of compensation to be paid to defendant for fees and costs, relative to the representation of plaintiffs herein.”

According to Kofsky, the defendant negligently posted his professional contact information in six jurisdictions where he does not practice law, which he says led him to suffer a dramatic decrease in revenue received from search engine listings, as a result of his firm’s website being dropped from those same search engines’ top results.

The plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $50,000, plus all interest and costs allowable by law.

The plaintiff is representing himself in this action.

The defendant is represented by John J. O’Brien III of O’Brien & O’Brien, in Wynnewood.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170102051

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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