As a follow up to the “Cow jumped over the Legal Malpractice” blog of 11/2/05, the case reportedly settled. The St. Clair Record reports that the case settled during trial.

“Legal malpractice case against Lakin settles
Thursday, November 03, 2005

By Steve Gonzalez

On trial for legal malpractice, the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River settled with the plaintiffs who accused the firm of not filing a timely wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their son, Michael Coates.

Plaintiff William Coates claimed the Lakin firm “messed up” by allowing the statute of limitations to expire before it could sue the owner of a cow believed to be responsible for the auto accident death of his son in 1994 in Greene County.

The one-day trial which settled Thursday almost ended in a mistrial.

During testimony, Alinda Coates, Michael Coates’ mother, uttered prejudicial statements claiming the firm encouraged her to sue the firm because “that is what insurance is for.”

Plaintiff attorney William Bosslet had told the jury that he was seeking damages in excess of $333,333 during his opening argument.

Juror selection began Monday and was picked Wednesday.

The original lawyer who filed Coates’ complaint in April 2002, Gary Peel, now works for the Lakin Law Firm.

Coates claims he hired the defendants in April 1996 to pursue a lawsuit, but the Lakin Law Firm and its attorney, Lee Barron, breached their duty to perform legal services in a competent, timely and non-negligent manner.

Coates first learned of the alleged negligent act when he met with Craig Jensen of the Lakin Law Firm in March 2001 and was told, “We messed up and you’ve got every right to sue the Lakin Law Firm,” he claims.

According to the complaint, Coates alleged he lost his rights to pursue a case against the owner of the cow, all to his damage in a sum in excess of $50,000.

Circuit Judge Daniel Stack presided over the case.

Barron now runs a solo practice in Alton. He once played professional soccer for the Cleveland Cobras.”

Steve Gonzalez

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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.