The Plain Dealer reports a $6 million dollar verdict in a legal malpractice case. Here’s the full article:

Ex-client wins $6 million judgment
Lawyer committed malpractice, jury says

James F. McCarty
Plain Dealer Reporter
“Angela Caruso thought she was buying sole ownership of the family’s coffee business, Berardi’s Fresh Roast, when she paid $930,000 to her ex-husband, Michael, in 2000.

But she admitted she didn’t read the fine print of the loan papers her lawyer, David Leneghan, had crafted. She later learned that she had agreed to transfer ownership of the company to Leneghan’s father, Patrick, a Cleveland businessman, if she defaulted.

Which is eventually what happened. A Cuyahoga County jury on Friday found that David Leneghan committed legal malpractice for failing to adequately represent her. Jurors awarded Caruso $6.4 million in compensatory damages.

The jury will return to Common Pleas Court on Tuesday to determine if Leneghan and his former law firm, Wegman Hessler Vanderburg & O’Toole, should be forced to pay punitive damages to Caruso.

Caruso, 58, returned to her condominium in Broadview Heights to celebrate her victory. She couldn’t think of a better gift to give her Italian immigrant parents on their 65th wedding anniversary.

“My [family] name is ultimately my most precious possession,” Caruso said. “I don’t want the name Berardi associated in any shape or form with” the Leneghans.

She said she would like to regain ownership of her company. Her lawyer said that decision will be up to the trial judge.

For five weeks of trial, the jury heard how the Carusos built the Berardi coffee company from nothing into a $4 million enterprise with 23 employees and the bulk of the Northeast Ohio market. But as the Carusos’ marriage crumbled, so did their business relationship. Both wanted sole control of the company and sought to buy the other’s share.

David Leneghan put together a loan agreement that the divorce judge approved. But afterward, Angela Caruso learned her financing had mysteriously fallen through, and the only way she could buy the company was with a loan from Patrick Leneghan. In the meantime, Patrick Leneghan would hold the company as collateral. Caruso says he gradually muscled her out of the business, cut her salary in half and, after two years, fired her.

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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.