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Kramer v. Nowak
United States District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania
908 F. Supp. 1281 (1995)
Attorney Steven Kramer (plaintiff) sued former associate Jeffrey Nowak (defendant) for miscalculating prejudgment interest. Kramer hired Nowak to assist on an antitrust case. The jury returned a judgment for the client for $11.5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. Kramer directed Nowak to prepare a motion for prejudgment interest. Nowak prepared a motion requesting approximately $4 million of prejudgment interest. The judge reduced the damages award, rejecting punitive damages and reducing the compensatory-damages award by $2 million, and approved prejudgment interest of $2 million instead of the $4 million requested. Kramer appealed without challenging the prejudgment-interest calculation. The client sued Kramer for malpractice. According to Kramer, the malpractice claim resulted in an arbitral award against him for $440,000. Kramer then sued Nowak for negligence, breach of contract, and contribution to shift part of the arbitral award onto Nowak, claiming Nowak was an independent contractor. Nowak moved to dismiss or for summary judgment, arguing he could not be liable as Kramer’s employee.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pollak, J.)
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