It’s winter, and our thoughts turn to the Caribbean.  Here, a Philadelphia law firm, 1400 lawyers strong, gave commercial advice pertaining to the Cuban embargo, and are now defendants in a legal malpractice case.  Here is the story from Bloomberg, via the Caribbean news agency.

"NEW YORK, USA (Bloomberg): Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the largest Philadelphia-based law firm with 1,400 attorneys, gave advice regarding sales to Cuba under the US trade embargo that led to a criminal investigation, a lawyer for an ex-client has argued.

Dan and Stefan Brodie, the founders of Purolite Corp., a manufacturer of specialty resins for water purifiers based outside Philadelphia, sued Morgan Lewis in 2004 for legal malpractice. The case began in the early nineties when an accountant questioned a sale by Purolite’s Canadian subsidiary to a company in Cuba. Purolite claims Morgan Lewis attorneys repeatedly advised them that the sales were legal because there was no US involvement.

"Morgan Lewis’s malpractice, sloppy work and their bad advice cost Purolite and the Brodies and it cost them severely," said Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer for the brothers, in opening arguments on Friday in state court in Philadelphia.

In 1996, the US Customs Service began an investigation into Purolite’s sales to Cuba. Morgan Lewis told the inspectors that the company’s foreign subsidiaries were separately owned and advised the Brodies to continue doing deals with the Cuban company, leading to a criminal indictment by the US Attorney’s office in Philadelphia, Kasowitz said.

In 2002, the Brodies were convicted of making illegal trades to Cuba, a verdict that was later reversed on appeal. The Brodies and Purolite pleaded guilty to charges concerning reimbursement of travel expenses, the company said in court filings.

A lawyer for Morgan Lewis said the firm advised the company not to sell to Cuba and that Purolite continued to do so because they wanted the money. "

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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 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.