When a business that makes sales to the public, and collects sales tax is sold, the buyer may become liable for unpaid sales taxes of the seller.  There is a well-understood process by which the buyer can immunize himself.  Really, all it takes is following the rules.  Unfortunately, in Randazzo v Nelson  2015 NY Slip Op 04299  Decided on May 20, 2015  Appellate Division, Second Department the rules were not followed.

How does plaintiff defend against the CPLR 3211(a)(1) motion?  By showing that the documents submitted do not utterly refute the allegations of the complaint.  “Here, the complaint, as amplified by the affidavit of Richard Randazzo (see Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d at 88), alleges that the defendant breached his duty of care, inter alia, by failing to ensure that certain tax liabilities of the seller did not attach to the plaintiffs’ successor delicatessen pursuant to Tax Law § 1141(c). It alleges that the defendant, inter alia, failed to await the final determination of the seller’s tax liabilities by the Department, and a notice by the Department that such tax liabilities had been wholly paid or satisfied, or no longer existed, before releasing the purchase funds to the seller. As a result, the outstanding tax liabilities of the seller attached to the plaintiffs, forcing them to close down the business.”

“Further, the documents submitted by the defendant did not conclusively establish a defense as a matter of law (see Endless Ocean, LLC v Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, 113 AD3d at 589). Contrary to the defendant’s contention, in the absence of evidence that the plaintiffs were made whole in their separate action against the seller pursuant to the indemnification agreement executed at the closing, such indemnification is no defense to the plaintiffs’ claim that had they been properly advised, the tax assessment would have been obviated entirely (see Yiouti Rest. v Sotiriou, 151 AD2d at 745).”

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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…

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.