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Legal Malpractice Claim Could Reach $10 million

What happens to a client when an attorney says he's filed a claim and reached a settlement when in fact the case hasn't been filed and there hasn't been any settlement?

Client's lawsuit claims Fahy, former Bergen prosecutor, misled her about legal action

November  5, 2013:, by Kibret Markos and Stephanie Akin
A client of John "Jay" Fahy, a former  Bergen County prosecutor, claims in a lawsuit he told her he had filed suit on her behalf in a workplace discrimination case and secured a $1.2-million settlement, but she found after Fahy committed suicide that none of that had occurred.
Former Bergen County Prosecutor John J. Fahy in 2012.
Vivien Thorsen, a Morris County resident, claimed in the complaint Fahy also lied to her about having meetings with attorneys, conducting depositions and attending court dates that never took place. A Fahy family spokesman called the lawsuit "opportunistic" and "despicable." An attorney representing Thorsen's former employer said Thorsen's claim was "baseless, meritless and desperate." Fahy, also a former federal prosecutor and a prominent attorney who had made frequent TV appearances, stunned  Bergen County's legal community when he shot himself to death with a handgun in July on a sidewalk along Route 17 south in  East Rutherford, a short walk from his home. Thorsen said in her lawsuit filed Monday in Superior Court in  Paterson that after Fahy's death, she contacted a managing partner in his law firm, Benjamin Choi, to ask for the settlement check. That's when she found out no one at the firm had filed a lawsuit on her behalf, there was no settlement and that Fahy had covered it all up with "lies, fabrications and misrepresentations," she claims in her lawsuit. The alleged coverup also caused the statutes of limitation to expire on Thorsen's claim, denying her the opportunity to ever seek compensation from her former employer, Thorsen said. The lawsuit quotes an expert evaluation that estimates compensatory and punitive damages to Thorsen could be close to $10 million. Thorsen's lawsuit said Fahy's suicide might have to do with her case. "Following all these misrepresentations and fabrications that Fahy told the plaintiff, and because he had for whatever reason covered up his malpractice of having blown the applicable statute of limitations for some as yet unexplained reason and perhaps because of them ,... Fahy took his own life," the lawsuit said. Thorsen's attorney, Ben Wasserman, said the totality of the evidence supports his client's claim against Fahy, but he declined to release documents because they are part of the evidence --  "These are not bogus allegations," he said. "We have vetted the evidence and pieced it all together."

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