The Appellate Division was shockingly clear in its enunciation of this standard, with which we were not familiar.  Plaintiffs created a unique investment strategy, and marketed it.  The IRS found fault, and assessed promoter penalty fines in excess of $7 Million.  Defendant law firm filed a bankruptcy petition, and the litigation started.  Unfortunately for Plaintiffs, Supreme Court and now the Appellate Division found it untimely.  In Hahn v Dewey & LeBoeuf Liquidation Trust
2016 NY Slip Op 06782 Decided on October 18, 2016 Appellate Division, First Department the AD used a term new to us.

“Supreme Court properly dismissed the complaint as time-barred under the three year statute of limitations applicable to professional malpractice claims (CPL 214[6]). “A legal malpractice claim accrues when all the facts necessary to the cause of action have occurred and an injured party can obtain relief in court'” (McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d 295, 301 [2002], quoting Ackerman v Price Waterhouse, 84 NY2d 535, 541 [1994]). Here, defendants established that the causes of action alleging legal malpractice accrued in 2000-01, when they issued opinion letters and rendered advice that plaintiffs were not required to register a tax shelter (see Ackerman at 541-543; Landow v Snow Becker Krauss, P.C., 111 AD3d 795, 796 [2d Dept 2013]). Although plaintiffs claim not to have discovered that this advice was incorrect until years later, ” [w]hat is important is when the malpractice was committed, not when the client discovered it'” (McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d at 301, quoting Shumsky v Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164, 166 [2001]). Therefore, since the plaintiffs did not commence this action until March 2014, more than three years after their claims for legal malpractice accrued, the complaint was properly dismissed as time-barred.

Contrary to plaintiffs’ argument, the special facts doctrine is inapplicable. The doctrine generally applies to claims of fraud in sales transactions (Jana L. v West 129th St. Realty Corp., 22 AD3d 274, 277 n2 [1st Dept 2005]). Further, at the time defendants rendered erroneous tax advice, neither the applicable statute of limitations nor precedent establishing the accrual date of [*2]malpractice claims (see Ackerman, supra) were peculiarly within defendants’ knowledge (Jana L. at 278), and that same information could have been discovered by plaintiffs through the exercise of ordinary intelligence (id.).”

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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.