Coccia v Liotti  2015 NY Slip Op 04801  Decided on June 10, 2015  Appellate Division, Second Department is a strange case.  Mr. Liotti is a well known legal malpractice defendant.  This legal malpractice case sputtered to a halt after Plaintiff successfully wiped out all of Mr. Liotti’s counterclaims for fees.  We are perplexed.

“In 2003, the plaintiff retained the defendant to represent her in a matrimonial action. The matrimonial action later settled, and the plaintiff, inter alia, received an equitable distribution award of $1.6 million. In 2006, the plaintiff commenced this action against the defendant alleging, inter alia, legal malpractice. Extensive motion practice ensued, resulting in several appeals to this Court. On one of those appeals, this Court, inter alia, modified an order of the Supreme Court entered May 5, 2008, so as to grant those branches of the plaintiff’s cross motion which were for summary judgment dismissing the first, second, and third counterclaims, each seeking to recover outstanding counsel fees (see Coccia v Liotti, 70 AD3d 747).

In August 2013, the defendant moved for a hearing on the issue of counsel fees and for an award of costs and sanctions. The plaintiff cross-moved pursuant to CPLR 3217(b) to voluntarily discontinue the action. In the order appealed from, the Supreme Court denied the defendant’s motion and granted the plaintiff’s cross motion. The defendant appeals from so much of the order as denied his motion.”

We wonder why plaintiff simply gave up.

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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.