Attorney attendence at trials and conferences is a big source of legal malpractice troubles.  Here is a case from Brooklyn:

Diamond v. Diamante, 27030/03
Decided: March 22, 2007

Justice Diana A. Johnson

Supreme Court

"On the trial adjourn date of November 15, 2006, plaintiff Claudia Diamond and her attorney James D. Reddy failed to appear. Plaintiff Sheldon Diamond, the husband of Claudia Diamond, appeared and related that Mr. Reddy had told him the day before that he would be unable to be in court, that he had two other cases on Long Island, and to ask for an adjournment. Mr. Diamond was not given an affirmation of engagement to present to the Court by Mr. Reddy.

Mr. Grossman moved to dismiss the action with prejudice. In response Mr. Diamond stated that his wife should not be punished for Mr. Reddy’s actions, that hiring him had been a terrible mistake, and that his wife was sick and she should have an opportunity to have justice served. The court clerk indicated that Mr. Reddy had called the day before seeking an adjournment claiming his client Claudia Diamond was sick.

On consideration of the attendant circumstances the Court finds Mr. Reddy failure to appear on November 15, 2006 was without good cause. The Court is cognizant of the fact that Mr. Reddy is a solo practitioner and is loath to impose sanctions. In consequence the Court sought to avoid having the hearing and encouraged Mr. Reddy to settle the costs matter with Mr. Grossman and Ms. Punzone. The Court indicated if a settlement was made, the Court would consider the matter closed regarding his nonappearance on November 15, 2006 and not proceed with the sanctions hearing. However, Mr. Reddy insisted in the correctness of his actions and that he had been entitled to an adjournment under Part 125. Mr. Reddy has totally misconstrued the function of Part 125 which is to delineate and provide the criteria upon which an attorney may obtain an adjournment based on being otherwise engaged. This is in recognition of the fact that at times the responsibilities of competing cases may cause an attorney through no fault of his/her own to have conflicting engagements. Its purpose is to set up priorities when such conflicts arise, not to create a way for an attorney to extricate himself from a scheduled trial date he is aware of, by setting up a conflict and then using the conflicting engagement as the excuse for not appearing when the other side will not consent to an adjournment. No less than his own affirmation of engagement establishes that his failure to appear was self-created and avoidable. As stated at paragraph 13, "[b]ased on the reported illness of the plaintiff Claudia Diamond by her husband and the inability to continue her testimony on November 15, 2006, I seized the opportunity to seek a temporary restraining order . . . ." (emphasis added). Mr. Reddy’s explanation for not appearing is without merit and is inexcusable. Accordingly the Court finds based on the testimony elicited at the hearing that the reasonable amount of costs incurred by Ms. Punzone due to her appearance on November 15, 2006 to be $129.00; and the reasonable amount of costs incurred by Mr. Grossman to be $500.00. The Court further imposes upon Mr. Reddy sanctions pursuant to Subpart 130-2 in the sum of one thousand dollars ( $1000.00) to be deposited with the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. Judgment is granted against Mr. Reddy accordingly.

Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
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.