This is a sad case of willful ignorance, passive-aggressive client behavior, and a refusal to acknowledge reality. Its a car accident turned legal malpractice case.  Unusually, it is the defendant – client who is suing his insurance defense attorneys. 

Driver had a 15/30 policy [as small as possible] and really injured the other driver.  Insurance compnay put up its $ 15 and then over and over tried to warn plaintiff that his coverage was too small, and that he had to do something about the situation.  He did not, and although he probably could have added a simple $ 1000 per month for 5 months, ended up with a judgment of $ 150,000 which he has to pay through salary garnishment. 

Of interest are two discussions of the use of expert reports, here, of the attorney expert.  Note: the term net opinion.

"In our review of Nathan’s two reports and Nathan’s deposition, we find no citation to professional standards or customs as reflected in defense lawyers’ journals or articles in support of his opinion that defendants committed legal malpractice. Additionally, Nathan references no judicial or statutory authority establishing the existence of a standard of care for defense attorneys, when the client’s monetary exposure over the policy limits places the client in jeopardy of a substantial excess verdict. Instead, other than a recitation of Nathan’s own personal opinion as to the standard of care based on his years of experience as a personal injury trial attorney, Nathan relies for his opinion on defense counsel’s alleged breach of Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs) 1.4 (communication), 1.3 (diligence), and 1.1 (gross negligence) as support for his opinion. In Baxt v. Liloia, 155 N.J. 190, 197 (1998), the Court concluded that a violation of the RPCs alone does not give rise to a cause of action for legal malpractice. The reason is that the disciplinary codes were not designed to establish standards for civil liability. Id. at 201; see also Barsotti v. Merced, 346 N.J. Super. 504 (App. Div. 2002).

We are convinced that Judge Stroumtsos in his comprehensive and well reasoned written opinion correctly determined Trivedi’s legal malpractice expert’s testimony was inadmissible because his testimony constituted a net opinion. See Townsend, supra, 186 N.J. at 494. The court found the expert’s opinion was based on his personal beliefs and unsupported by any evidence demonstrating industry standards and customs. See Stoeckel, supra, 387 N.J. Super. at 14. The judge concluded that without an expert opinion establishing the standard of care required of a defense attorney in advising his/her client as to the client’s potential personal exposure in the event of a damages verdict in excess of the liability insurance policy limits, Trivedi’s claim for legal malpractice could not be proved and that defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 523-24 (1995)."







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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.