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Hanlin v. Mitchelson

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
794 F.2d 834 (2d Cir. 1986)


Hermine Hanlin (plaintiff) entered a partnership agreement with members of the Manhattans singing group. The Manhattans won a Grammy award and later had a disagreement with Hanlin. The Manhattans and Hanlin all claimed they were owed money, and the dispute went to arbitration. Hanlin hired an attorney, Marvin Mitchelson (defendant), to represent him. Hanlin had an oral agreement with Mitchelson under which Hanlin would pay a flat fee of $25,000 in advance, plus any expenses. The arbitrator found that Hanlin had an interest in some of the Manhattans’ contracts and directed the Manhattans to execute assignments of contract to Hanlin. Hanlin was awarded $20,620 in the arbitration and was also ordered to pay $26,750 to the Manhattans’ manager. Mitchelson did not file to confirm the arbitration award. Hanlin was unhappy with the arbitration outcome and wanted to appeal. After many attempts to reach Mitchelson with no response, Hanlin received a letter explaining that the arbitration award was not appealable and noting that Hanlin still owed Mitchelson expenses. Hanlin hired a second attorney and sued Mitchelson for damages, alleging negligence and malpractice. Hanlin later moved to amend her complaint based on Mitchelson’s failure to confirm the arbitration award within the statute of limitations. The court denied the motion for leave to amend and dismissed the complaint. The court based its decision on three findings, one of which was that the allegations in the proposed amended complaint were frivolous, because Mitchelson had terminated his representation of Hanlin before the alleged failure to confirm the arbitration award. Hanlin appealed the denial for leave to amend.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Meskill, J.)

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