Malachowski v Daly ; 2011 NY Slip Op 06720 ; Decided on September 30, 2011 ; Appellate Division, Fourth Department  is a divorce legal malpractice case from Utica, and it demonstrates two things.  Plaintiff must, early on, set the tone and state the claims in bills of particular and during early discovery, and once having determined the claims, they must be robust enough to pass muster with the Court and the AD.  Here, a late-made claim that wife’s credit card debt was understated, and that the attorney failed to discover the correct amount is undercut by the fact that the credit card debt was understated by $ 74.00  The same is more or less true for pension benefits and other claims.

"We further conclude that the court properly granted that part of the motion seeking dismissal of the amended complaint insofar as it alleges that defendant failed to move to vacate the stipulation entered in the underlying divorce action, inasmuch as plaintiff did not retain defendant for that purpose (see DiGiacomo v Levine, 76 AD3d 946, 949-950). We note that plaintiff contends for the first time on appeal that defendant promised to move for vacatur. Because plaintiff did not set forth that contention in the amended complaint or in the bill of particulars, or otherwise raise the issue in Supreme Court, that contention is not properly before us (see Ciesinski v Town of Aurora, 202 AD2d 984, 985).

Plaintiff’s remaining contention is that the court erred in granting that part of defendant’s motion with respect to his claim that defendant was negligent in failing to discover prior to settlement of the underlying divorce action that plaintiff’s ex-wife, upon retirement, would receive payments of $500 per month from her then employer, over and above her anticipated pension benefits. We reject that contention. As the court noted in its decision, and as plaintiff concedes on appeal, the exact nature of the payments to plaintiff’s ex-wife is unclear from the record. It cannot be determined whether the payments constitute marital property, as plaintiff suggests, or whether, as defendant posits, they constitute social security bridge payments, which do not constitute a form of deferred compensation and thus are not marital property (see Olivo v Olivo, 82 NY2d 202, 208). Plaintiff’s claim regarding the payments in question was not set forth in the amended complaint, nor was it referenced in the bill of particulars. Instead, it was raised for the first time by plaintiff in opposition to defendant’s motion. "
 

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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.