Cassandra Crottyreports in the Illinois Legal Malpractice Blog that:

"Insurer Able To Proceed With Legal Malpratice Lawsuit
An Illinois appellate court recently reversed a circuit court entry of summary judgment in favor of a lawyer and his Park Ridge law firm, holding that an insurance company can proceed with its legal malpractice lawsuit against the law firm that represented the insurer in connection with a coverage dispute. The appellate court found that the "defendants failed to meet their burden of production on their motion for summary judgment because they did not present evidence that, left unrebutted, would entitle them to judgment as a matter of law or demonstrate that the [insurer] would be unable to prove any element of its cause of action."

The case-within-a case stemmed from a car accident that occurred in 1991. The insurer, Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., had issued an insurance policy to Carriage Chevrolet Inc., a car dealership in St. Louis. Michele Heflin, a Carriage Chevrolet salesperson, was driving a car owned by the dealership when she pulled over to help a driver with a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. While Heflin was rendering assistance, another car struck and injured her. Heflin filed suit against the driver and received $25,000 – the limit of the driver’s policy. Heflin then turned to the Universal umbrella policy issued to her employer, Carriage Chevrolet, arguing that it provided under-insured motorist coverage. When Universal denied her claim, Heflin then filed a declaratory judgment suit asking the court to determine and adjudicate the rights and liabilities of the parties with respect to the umbrella policy. Universal then hired the defendants in this action, Jay Judge and his law firm, Judge & James, to defend it in the dec action. 1n 2001, after litigating the action (in court and in arbitration), the trial court entered an order requiring Universal to pay $2,975,000 plus interest, and two weeks later, Universal, through new counsel, settled Heflin’s claim for $3 million.

Universal then filed this legal malpractice suit against it’s former lawyers. In its amended complaint, Universal contended that the lawyers owed it a duty of care, which included the obligation to take timely appeals and to timely seek other remedies in the event of adverse and erroneous judgments. Additionally, Universal contended that the lawyers breached their duties by failing to raise the $1 million umbrella policy limit as a defense or limitation on damages in the arbitration proceeding"

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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.