Thomas v Weitzman  2018 NY Slip Op 30528(U)  March 26, 2018  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 151876/2016  Judge: Kathryn E. Freed is the story of a plaintiff injured at at NYCHA premises.  Taken to the hospital for surgery, she claims medical malpractice.  These few facts immediately summon forth the questions of suing a municipal authority, the timing of service upon that authority and how a medical malpractice case arising from a negligent act is apportioned.  Sadly, fumbling of the preliminaries ended in no law suit at all.  The legal malpractice wranglings followed.

“Thon1as retained third-party defendant Baron Associates to assert a personal injury claim against NYCHA. She also retained third-party defendant the Perecman Firm to pursue a medical malpractice claim against third-party defendants Richmond University Medical Center and Dr. Brandon.
On December 21, 2011, Baron Associates served and filed a notice of claim against NYCHA and the City of New York. According to Baron Associates, Thomas failed to appear for her initial General Municipal Law (GML) § 50-h examination, scheduled for February 21, 2012, as well as a rescheduled examination on April 30, 2012. Subsequently, Baron Associates sent Thomas a disengagement letter (Disengagement Letter), dated May 17, 2012. The Disengagement Letter advised Thomas that: Baron Associates would no longer represent her, due to her “lack of cooperation and failure to participate in the case”; the statute of limitations for a negligence claim
against NYCHA was one year and 90 days and would expire on February 15, 2013; and her appearance at a 50-h examination was a prerequisite for commencing a lawsuit. McDonald
affirmation, exhibit Q. Baron Associates asserts that it had no further contact with Thomas. ”

“According to the Perecman Firm, it never commenced an action on Thomas’s behalf. By
letter dated April 26, 2012, Thomas informed the firm that she was discharging it and that she had
retained the Weitzman Defendants. Enclosed was a “Consent to Change Attorney” form (Change
of Attorney Form), already executed by Thomas and Weitzman, as well as a letter from Weitzman,
instructing the Pe.recman Firm to contact Weitzman Law regarding the transfer of Thomas’s file
and payment of the Perecman Finn’s disbursements. Rigelhaupt affirmation, exhibit 4. According
to the Perecman Firm, it executed and returned the Change of Attorney Form, along with a request
for payment of its disbursements. It allegedly sent follow-up requests for payment by letters dated
August 9 and October 2, 2012, but Weitzman Law never paid. ”

In a complicated series of motion events, Judge Freed denied dismissal and found frivolous conduct.  The details are too complicated and Judge Freed’s writing is too good for publishing only certain snippets.  We ask you to read the balance of the case, especially starting at page 8.



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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.