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Legal Memorandum: Attorney's Liability for Partner's Torts

Issue: Under New Jersey law, is an attorney vicariously liable for torts committed by partners or associates?

Area of Law: Ethics & Professional Responsibility, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Torts; Vicarious liability; Legal partners
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 215 N.J. Super. 388
Cited Statutes: N.J.S.A. 14A:17-8
Date: 09/01/2004

New Jersey law establishes that legal partners are vicariously liable for torts committed by other members of the partnership acting within the scope of the firm business.  N.J.S.A. 14A:17-8; Staron v. Weinstein, 305 N.J. Super. 236, 242-43 (App. Div. 1997).  It is also established that a lawyer who represents himself as a partner may create vicarious liability for the conduct of the other members of that partnership.  Fazarano v. Leo, 269 N.J. Super. 315, 320-21 (App. Div. 1993).  Accordingly, an attorney’s failure to properly supervise an associate may constitute negligence.  Gautam v. De Luca, 215 N.J. Super. 388, 397 (App. Div. 1987).

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