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A v. B

Supreme Court of New Jersey
726 A.2d 924 (1999)


Facts

The law firm of Hill Wallack (HW) – which had approximately 60 attorneys and included both family law and estate planning practices – inadvertently took on contemporaneous representation of a mother (plaintiff) pursuing this paternity action against a husband (defendant) who had hired HW to prepare wills for himself and his wife. The husband was aware of HW’s representation of the mother in the paternity action, did not object and hired Fox Rothchild (FR) to represent him in this action. The husband did not inform his wife or HW’s estate planning attorneys that he had an illegitimate child. After FR alerted HW to the conflict and HW’s estates practice became aware of the husband’s illegitimate child, HW withdrew from representation of the mother in this action and sought to share with his wife the fact that the husband has an illegitimate child who may receive some of her assets under her current estate plan. The decision of the trial court in the paternity action was appealed to the Appellate Division, and the decision of that court was appealed to the Supreme Court.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Pollack, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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