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Massachusetts Law Firm Can’t Shake $20 Million Malpractice Suit

Nov. 25, 2022, 7:24 PM

Massachusetts law firm Bowditch & Dewey LLP should face a legal malpractice lawsuit by a newspaper and books wholesaler alleging its faulty advice resulted in a $20 million fine, a magistrate judge recommended.

Hudson-RPM Distributors LLC, which works in the wholesale distribution of books, periodicals, and newspapers, hired Bowditch & Dewey and its lawyers David P. Grossi and Terrence J. Briggs to provide legal advice on its financial obligations to a Teamsters pension fund.

Hudson sued its former counsel in 2019, claiming the firm’s advice on how to reduce its workforce to avoid pension liability was faulty and ultimately caused it to receive a $20 million fine.

Bowditch also filed a suit against accounting firm Marcum LLP for contribution in an effort to share any found liability.

Bowditch brought a motion for summary judgment regarding Hudson’s legal malpractice claim, and Marcum moved for summary judgment on the claim for contribution.

Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts recommended denying Bowditch’s motion for summary judgment on Nov. 23, saying Hudson had met its burden at this stage of the litigation by submitting facts that show a net loss resulting from negligence.

Hennessy also recommended granting Marcum’s motion for summary judgment on the contribution claim. The judge said the allegations didn’t establish that Marcum would have proximately caused Hudson’s damages.

Hudson is represented by Cole Schotz PC and Bergstresser & Pollock LLC. Bowditch is represented by Peabody & Arnold LLP.

The case is Hudson-RPM Distributors LLC v. Bowditch & Dewey LLP, D. Mass., No. 4:19-cv-40095-TSH, 11/23/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Carmen Castro-Pagán at ccastro-pagan@bloomberglaw.com