In today’s NYLJ  article by Drew Combs we see the interim outcome we see the basic outline of the attorney-client relationship gone bad.

"A California venture capitalist who has admitted to bribing New York state pension officials has sued Gibson Dunn & Crutcher over $1.3 million in fees the firm seeks for representing him during the investigation that precipitated that admission.

Elliott Broidy’s lawsuit—filed March 15 in Los Angeles Superior Court—comes in response to a Gibson Dunn motion to have an arbitrator in New York resolve the fee dispute between the two parties (NYLJ, Feb. 18). Mr. Broidy wants the disagreement handled in California.

The clash stems from work done by Gibson Dunn on behalf of Mr. Broidy and his Markstone Capital Group private equity firm while both were targets of an investigation into "pay-to-play" investments made by the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Wherever the matter is ultimately decided, Mr. Broidy also claims in his complaint that Gibson Dunn is not entitled to any legal fees because it committed fraud by failing to obtain appropriate conflicts waivers while representing him.

Mr. Broidy seeks an order compelling Gibson Dunn to dismiss the New York arbitration proceedings as well as orders preventing the firm from any further efforts to collect the $1.3 million in legal fees it claims it is owed.

 

At the heart of the dispute, according to Mr. Broidy’s complaint, are two retainer agreements and an engagement letter prepared by Gibson Dunn in connection with the pension probe.

Under terms of the first retainer agreement, Mr. Broidy’s complaint maintains, any dispute that might arise between the investor and the law firm would be submitted to arbitration in Los Angeles and California law would govern.

Mr. Broidy alleges that in April 2009, New York-based Gibson Dunn partner Randy Mastro "demanded" that Mr. Broidy sign a new retainer with the firm on his own behalf. Mr. Broidy says in his complaint that Mr. Mastro allegedly assured him that the terms of the two were otherwise the same, and acknowledges signing the new agreement."

 

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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.