Legal Malpractice claims accrue at the time a mistake is made.  The Statute of limitations  in legal malpractice, three years, is a difficult and high barrier to overcome.  Continuous representation may toll the running of the statute, but social policy has set a number of elements required for continuous representation to be permitted.  Stein Indus., Inc. v Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP  2017 NY Slip Op 02688 [149 AD3d 788]  April 5, 2017  Appellate Division, Second Department gives a cogent explanation.

“The statute of limitations for the cause of action alleging legal malpractice is three years (see CPLR 214 [6]; Alizio v Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C., 126 AD3d 733, 735 [2015]). The cause of action to recover damages for professional negligence, which arose from the same facts as the legal malpractice claim and did not allege distinct damages, was likewise governed by the three-year statute of limitations (see Scott v Fields, 85 AD3d 756 [2011]; see also Farage v Ehrenberg, 124 AD3d 159, 159 [2014]). A claim to recover damages for legal malpractice accrues when the malpractice is committed (see Shumsky v Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164, 166 [2001]; Aqua-Trol Corp. v Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., 144 AD3d 956, 957 [2016]). “However, pursuant to the doctrine of continuous representation, the time within which to sue on the claim is tolled until the attorney’s continuing representation of the client with regard to the particular matter terminates” (Aqua-Trol Corp. v Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., 144 AD3d at 957; see Shumsky v Eisenstein, 96 NY2d at 164; Pellati v Lite & Lite, 290 AD2d 544, 545 [2002]). For the continuous representation doctrine to apply, “there must be clear indicia of an ongoing, continuous, developing, and dependant relationship between the client and the attorney which often includes an attempt by the attorney to rectify an alleged act of malpractice” (Luk Lamellen U. Kupplungbau GmbH v Lerner, 166 AD2d 505, 506-507 [1990]; see Pellati v Lite & Lite, 290 AD2d at 545).

Here, the defendant satisfied its initial burden by demonstrating, prima facie, that the alleged legal malpractice occurred more than three years before this action was commenced in March 2015 (see Kennedy v H. Bruce Fischer, Esq., P.C., 78 AD3d 1016, 1017 [2010]). In opposition, however, the plaintiffs raised a question of fact as to whether the applicable statute of limitations was tolled by the continuous representation doctrine. The plaintiffs submitted Andrew Stein’s affidavit, in which he averred that he met with members of the defendant on July 26, 2012, to determine how to rectify the pension liability issue. Andrew indicated that he was not satisfied with their recommendations concerning how to rectify the issue and directed them to formulate another idea. Andrew’s affidavit was sufficient to raise a question of fact as to whether the defendant engaged in a course of continuous representation intended to rectify or mitigate the initial act of alleged malpractice (see Melnick v Farrell, 128 AD3d 1371, 1372 [2015]; DeStaso v Condon Resnick, LLP, 90 AD3d 809, 812-813 [2011]; Gravel v Cicola, 297 AD2d 620, 621 [2002]).”

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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.