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Goulston & Storrs settles ‘legal malpractice’ lawsuit filed by construction company owner John Fish

He alleged that a top Goulston attorney secretly advised Stephen Weiner, his partner in an $800 million condo project, as Weiner sought to back out of the joint venture.

Goulston & Storrs has settled a lawsuit filed by John Fish (above) that accused one of the Boston law firm’s partners of working with developer Stephen Weiner in secret as Weiner sought to back out of a $800 million deal he had with Fish to build a Back Bay tower.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

It’s one down and one to go for construction mogul John Fish in his legal battle over the failed Back Bay condominium tower project he pursued for years with developer Stephen Weiner.

Goulston & Storrs has settled a March 2021 lawsuit filed by Fish that accused one of the Boston law firm’s top real estate partners of working with Weiner in secret as the developer sought to back out of the $800 million deal. The partner, Alan Rottenberg, also held an “undisclosed personal financial interest” in Weiner’s firm, according to the Suffolk Superior Court lawsuit, which called Rottenberg’s actions “legal malpractice.”

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Fish, who is chief executive of construction giant Suffolk but invested in the condo project as an individual, declined to discuss terms of the settlement, which was confirmed by one of his attorneys in the case, Ryan Kirkpatrick, a partner at Susman Godfrey in New York.

Attorneys representing Goulston and a spokeswoman for the firm didn’t return phone messages and e-mails seeking comment.

In a court filing a year ago, Goulston rejected Fish’s claim that it was privately allied with Weiner even as the firm billed Fish for millions of dollars for legal services on the project. Goulston also denied failing to disclose that Rottenberg held an interest in the developer’s firm, Weiner Ventures, through a trust.

The legal battle erupted in October 2019 when Fish sued Weiner and his son, Adam, for backing out of the condo tower project, a move that he said cost him tens of millions of dollars. The Weiners had gotten cold feet, the lawsuit said, and Stephen Weiner was reluctant to personally back $400 million worth of financing.

According to Fish’s suit, Stephen Weiner issued a statement in August 2019 saying the project had been scuttled — even as workers from Fish’s construction company were preparing the property.

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A year later, the Weiners countersued, alleging that Fish falsely said he would be able to obtain all state approvals for the tower by a specific date and on acceptable terms. Judge Kenneth W. Salinger subsequently dismissed some of the counterclaims.

Fish’s lawsuit against Stephen Weiner and his son and their remaining counterclaims are pending.

“We look forward to going to trial,” said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for the Weiners.


Larry Edelman can be reached at larry.edelman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeNewsEd.