Divorce proceedings lead to a large number of legal malpractice inquiries.  They are generally in the nature of “I did not get enough/gave too much in the divorce.  Is it legal malpractice?   Sometimes it is.  In Tanenbaum v Molinoff  2014 NY Slip Op 04186 [118 AD3d 774]  June 11, 2014  Appellate Division, Second Department it was not.  Plaintiff did not get his attorney fees paid by the more monied spouse.  The suit was for legal malpractice, which the Court and the AD found lacking.

“Here, the defendant established that he was entitled to the dismissal of the first cause of action, which alleged legal malpractice, pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (1) and (7). Contrary to the plaintiff’s contentions, the complaint in this action, as well as certain documentary evidence before the Supreme Court, including, inter alia, a portion of the settlement agreement between the plaintiff and his former wife, conclusively established as a matter of law that, under the terms of the settlement agreement (see generally Trinagel v Boyar, 99 AD3d 792, 792 [2012]; Matter of Berns v Halberstam, 46 AD3d 808, 809 [2007]), the plaintiff was not entitled to an award of an attorney’s fee in the proceeding against his former wife before the Family Court (see Matter of Tanenbaum v Caputo, 81 AD3d 839 [2011]), and that the defendant therefore did not commit malpractice in failing to obtain an award of an attorney’s fee in that proceeding. Moreover, the retainer agreement between the parties here conclusively refuted any claim based on the plaintiff’s allegation that the defendant assured him that the plaintiff’s former wife would be responsible for the payment of all legal fees in that proceeding. Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the first cause of action pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (1) and (7).”

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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.