Kim v. Park, DOCKET NO. A-3138-17T4

CourtNew Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
PartiesHEON KIM, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. ANDREW PARK, LAW OFFICES OF ANDREW PARK, PC, and ANDREW PARK, PC, Defendants-Appellants, and SIM & PARK, LLP, Defendant.
Docket NumberDOCKET NO. A-3138-17T4
Decision Date02 August 2019

HEON KIM, Plaintiff-Respondent,
and ANDREW PARK, PC, Defendants-Appellants,
and SIM & PARK, LLP, Defendant.

DOCKET NO. A-3138-17T4


Argued June 18, 2019
August 2, 2019


This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3.

Before Judges Koblitz and DeAlmeida.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-020039-14.

David M. Wasserman argued the cause for pro se appellants.

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Roy H. Mossi argued the cause for respondent (Song Law Firm, LLC, attorneys; Roy H. Mossi, on the brief).


This matter arises from a July 28, 2017 judgment for $23,000 in damages and approximately $36,000 in counsel fees and expenses entered against defendant Andrew Park after a two-day legal malpractice bench trial. He appeals from a January 24, 2018 order denying reconsideration. We affirm.

Defendant's amended notice of appeal states that he appeals only from the denial of his motion for reconsideration. See R. 2:5-1(e)(3)(i). "Reconsideration should be utilized only for those cases which fall into that narrow corridor in which either 1) the [c]ourt has expressed its decision based upon a palpably incorrect or irrational basis, or 2) it is obvious that the [c]ourt either did not consider, or failed to appreciate the significance of probative, competent evidence. . . ." Cummings v. Bahr, 295 N.J. Super. 374, 384 (App. Div. 1996) (quoting D'Atria v. D'Atria, 242 N.J. Super. 392, 401 (Ch. Div. 1990)); see also R. 4:49-2. We review denials of reconsideration under the abuse of discretion standard. See Fusco v. Bd. of Educ., 349 N.J. Super. 455, 462 (App. Div. 2002).

Plaintiff Heon Kim hired defendant, an attorney, to represent him in a personal injury action arising from a motor vehicle accident in April 2006.

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During the course of litigation, defendant did not respond to plaintiff's several inquiries about whether his personal injury protection (PIP) would cover accident-related back surgery he was considering. On June 16, 2009, after three postponements of the surgery and no word from defendant concerning coverage, plaintiff underwent surgery on his lumbar spine, assuming it would be covered by insurance. A week after the surgery, on June 23, the lawsuit was resolved through mediation for $500,000. Plaintiff realized approximately $331,000.

After the settlement, plaintiff, having indeed exhausted his PIP benefits, received a demand from the hospital for approximately $105,000 for his recent surgery. The hospital thereafter sought collection of the unpaid bill. Defendant initially represented plaintiff with respect to the hospital's collection suit, but after defendant, through inaction, allowed a mandatory arbitration award for the full amount of the bill to be entered, plaintiff retained his current counsel, who filed for a trial de novo. Plaintiff ultimately paid his current counsel $5000 to settle the hospital collection action for $18,000.

Plaintiff thereafter sued defendant for malpractice on the theory that defendant should have investigated whether plaintiff had exhausted his PIP coverage and informed plaintiff of his responsibility for the hospital bill before plaintiff's surgery and before the settlement of the accident claim. Plaintiff

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testified he could not afford surgery unless he had PIP coverage, and postponed surgery until he believed defendant was able to "contact the insurance company" and "take care of the whole thing."

After a bench...

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