Personal injury and legal malpractice cases have many strong bonds. Because a sizable portion of the litigation world is devoted to personal injuries (on both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s side), one correctly expects significant legal malpractice litigation after-wards. How the legal malpractice case proceeds along with or after the PI case is a not well understood procedure. In Simoni v Costigan 2012 NY Slip Op 07882  Appellate Division, First Department andSimoni v Napoli 2012 NY Slip Op 08639 Decided on December 13, 2012 Appellate Division, First Department we see two sides of the same issue.
 

 

 

Costigan: Although the personal injury actions and the legal malpractice action involve "a common question of law or fact" (CPLR 602[a]), consolidation could engender jury confusion and [*2]prejudice the defendants in the malpractice action (see Addison v New York Presbyt. Hosp./Columbia Univ. Med. Ctr., 52 AD3d 269, [1st Dept 2008]; Brown v Brooklyn Union Gas Co., 137 AD2d 479 [2nd Dept 1988]).

 

Napoli: The motion court providently exercised its discretion in denying defendants’ request for a stay of the legal malpractice action pending resolution of plaintiff’s personal injury action (see CPLR 2201). The proceedings do not share complete identity of parties, claims and relief sought (see 952 Assoc., LLC v Palmer, 52 AD3d 236 [1st Dept 2008]; Esposit v Anderson Kill Olick & Oshinsky, P.C., 237 AD2d 246 [2d Dept 1997]).

The motion court also properly permitted plaintiff to amend the complaint (see CPLR 3025[b]). The amended complaint and the documents submitted in support of the cross motion allege facts from which it could reasonably be inferred that defendants’ negligence caused plaintiff’s loss (see Garnett v Fox, Horan & Camerini, LLP, 82 AD3d 435 [1st Dept 2011]). At this stage of the proceedings, plaintiff does not have to show that he actually sustained damages as a result of defendants’ alleged malpractice (id. at 436).

 

 

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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.