Sometimes a cigar is simply a cigar, and sometimes plaintiffs have to produce wildly expensive trial props.  In Melcher v Greenberg Traurig LLP
2015 NY Slip Op 30855(U)  May 18, 2015  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 650188/2007  Judge: O. Peter Sherwood a scene not unlike the Pumpkin Papers case unfolded.  Here is Judge Sherwood on the replica kitchen.

“On January 27, 2004, Melcher’s counsel, Jeffrey Jannuzzo, requested that the original Amendment be produced for forensic testing ofits authenticity (Jannuzzo letter to Corwin dated Jan. 27, 2004, Plaintiffs Exhibit 9). On February l, Fradd informed Corwin that the original Agreement had been damaged-in a tea-making incident (Fradd e-mail to Corwin dated Feb. 1, 2004, Plaintiffs Exhibit 1 I). The first page was destroyed and the second page, with Fradd’s signature, was singed (id.; Plaintiffs Exhibit 12). On February 2, 2004, Corwin was informed that no record of creating 3 [* 3] the Amendment was found in Governale’s files, and that the Amendment lacked the standard footer used by Govemale’s firm (Corwin notes dated Feb. 2, 2004, Plaintiffs Exhibit 13). 1 Nonetheless, an undamaged copy of the Amendment was attached to Fradd’s February 13, 2004, affidavit, which was filed and submitted to the court in support of a motion to dismiss the Apollo Action (Plaintiffs Exhibit 27).

Plaintiffs arson expert the Apollo Action created a replica of Fradd’s kitchen in order to test whether the damage to the Amendment could have been done in the manner claimed. Plaintiff stored the replica kitchen, so that the defendants in this case could inspect it. Fradd no longer lives in the same apartment, so the original kitchen is no longer available for inspection. Plaintiff offered the replica kitchen to defendants, and has advised defendants that he intends to discard it if they do not take it. Defendants argues that plaintiff must preserve this evidence. Accordingly, plaintiff seeks an order instructing defendants to take the replica kitchen or waive the right to inspect it. He asserts that his obligation to produce pursuant to CPLR 3120 can be “satisfied by telling the party seeking 17 [* 12] the discovery where the materials are and providing a reasonable opportunity” to view them (Memo at 4, quoting Zegarelli v Hughes, 3 NY3d 64, 69 [2004 ]). The parties dispute whether expert testimony regarding the feasability ofFradd’s version of how the Amendment came to be damaged will be relevant at trial, and expert discovery has not yet begun. As Melcher has not shown any undue burden, the court directs that he preserve the replica kitchen at least until expert discovery is concluded.”

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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.