Labovitz v. Feinberg – Case Brief Summary (Massachusetts)

In Labovitz v. Feinberg (Mass.App. 1999) 47 Mass. App. Ct. 306 713 N.E.2d 379, the court reversed a summary judgment in favor of the defendant attorneys involved in a fee dispute with their convicted former client.

The plaintiff claimed his fee arrangement with the defendants covered all matters up to an appeal, but in breach of that agreement the defendants refused to represent him on a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and at his sentencing.

As a result, the plaintiff had to retain new counsel to handle the motion and the sentencing hearing, which cost him an additional $ 15,000 in attorney fees.

The court held the actual innocence rule, which barred the plaintiff's malpractice claim, did not bar this breach of contract claim. (Labovitz v. Feinberg, supra, 713 N.E.2d at pages 382, 385.)