All attorney representations are not equal, and a strong public policy of limiting the volume of legal malpractice cases is highlighted by Siemsen v Mevorach  2018 NY Slip Op 02821  Decided on April 25, 2018  Appellate Division, Second Department.  A guardian is not susceptible of a legal malpractice claim for want of privity.

“In 2012, the Supreme Court issued a commission to guardian, appointing the defendant as the guardian of the person and property of Virginia Lenzovich pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law article 81. The commission to guardian authorized the defendant, among other things, to “[e]xercise any right to an elective share in the estate of the Incapacitated Person’s deceased spouse.” Virginia’s husband, John Lenzovich, died in March 2014, and Virginia died in July 2014. The defendant then moved for judicial settlement of the final account of the defendant as guardian. By order dated January 30, 2015, the Supreme Court discharged the defendant “from any and all liability in connection with all matters embraced in the said final account.” John’s will, in which he disinherited Virginia, was not filed for probate until March 2015.
Subsequently, the plaintiff, as administrator of Virginia’s estate, commenced this action to recover damages for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty based on the defendant’s failure to exercise, on Virginia’s behalf, the right of election against John’s estate. The defendant moved pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1), (5), and (7) to dismiss the complaint based on documentary evidence, collateral estoppel, and failure to state a cause of action. The Supreme Court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appeals.”

“The Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the cause of action to recover damages for legal malpractice. In a legal malpractice action, a plaintiff must establish, inter alia, that an attorney-client relationship existed (see United States Fire Ins. Co. v Raia, 94 AD3d 749, 750-751; Nelson v Kalathara, 48 [*2]AD3d 528, 529). Here, the plaintiff failed to allege facts that would support a finding that the defendant, as guardian of the person and property of Virginia under Mental Hygiene Law article 81, had an attorney-client relationship with Virginia (see United States Fire Ins. Co. v Raia, 94 AD3d at 750-751; Nelson v Kalathara, 48 AD3d at 529).”

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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.