Here is the hypothetical:  Plaintiff hires attorney A to prosecute an action against the State of New York, and does not timely file a notice of claim.  There is still time within the statute of limitations to file a motion seeking leave to file a late notice of claim. 

Plaintiff hires attorney B to sue for legal malpractice. Is Attorney B required to try to mitigate by seeking leave?  If Attorney B does not, is he subject to third-party litigation?

The case of Eugene Cacho, v.The Law Offices of Louis Venezia and Louis Venezia,
102554/2006 SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, RICHMOND COUNTY ,2008 NY Slip Op 50111U;  says no.  Justice McMahon writes:

"With respect to the motion at hand, generally, where a law firm is retained for the limited and express purpose of representing a client in a legal malpractice action, they do not have a duty to prosecute the underlying claim, if one still lies (see Northrop v. Thorsen, AD3d , 2007 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 12903 [2d Dept., Dec. 18, 2007][finding that an attorney retained "in a separate matter, before a separate tribunal, and for a different purpose" does not require him to mitigate damages in the underlying claims); Johnson v. Berger, 193 AD2d 784, 786, 598 N.Y.S.2d 270 [2d Dept., 1993][holding that a law firm’s failure to preserve an estate’s assets, when retained for the limited purpose of prosecuting a legal malpractice action "did not contribute to or aggravate the plaintiffs’ damages arising from the former attorneys’ alleged legal malpractice"]).

Here, third-party defendant’s have established entitlement to judgment in accordance with CPLR § 3211(a)(1) and (a)(7). The retainer [**4] agreement is clear and specific, detailing that the representation by the third-party defendants is for "damages arising from personal injuries sustained by Eugene Cacho as a result of legal malpractice." Further, the cases cited by the defendant/third-party plaintiff’s are distinguishable from the instant matter in that here, the third-party defendant Minchew was not hired as successor counsel to prosecute the personal injury claim, but rather on a different matter, in front of a different Judge and for a different purpose (Northrop v. Thorsen, AD3d , 2007 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 12903 [2d Dept., Dec. 18, 2007]). As a result, defendant Minchew is under no obligation to file a late notice of claim and therefore, dismissal of the third-party complaint is warranted (see CPLR § 3211 [a][1], [a][7]; Northrop v. Thorsen, AD3d , 2007 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 12903 [2d Dept., Dec 18, 2007]; Johnson v. Berger, 193 AD2d at 786). "

 

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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.