47 Third Residential Invs. LLC v Georges  2018 NY Slip Op 30989(U)  May 22, 2018
Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 155636/2017  Judge: Robert D. Kalish is the sad story of architectural work, of mistakes, and of tremendous losses, now probably not covered by insurance.

“Plaintiff commenced the instant action on June 21, 2017, bye-filing a summons and complaint. Plaintiff alleged in its complaint that it was the owner of a residential condominium unit comprising five floors and all development rights of the six-story building located at 101 East 10th Street, New York, New York 10003 (the “Building”). Plaintiff further alleged that it retained Defendant Gregory Georges in 2015 to investigate and determine the structural impact of adding new floors to the Building (the “Project”). Plaintiff then alleged that it relied on Defendant’s finding that the Building could support the addition of six new floors on top of the existing Building and purchased air rights from the neighboring property owner at 55 Third A venue in furtherance of the Project. Plaintiff next alleged that it commissioned structural and architectural drawings and other engineering services from Defendant in furtherance of the Project. Plaintiff then alleged that it added at least one floor to the Building based on Defendant’s services and conclusions. Plaintiff further alleged that it made several payments to Defendant.

Plaintiff alleged that, in or about March 2016, it retained three separate engineering firms-Active Design Group Engineering DPC, Rosenwasser Grossman Consulting Engineers, P.C., and Structural Engineering Technologies-to conduct a peer review of Defendant’s findings and study the structural impact of the proposed addition on the critical structural components of the Building. Plaintiff then alleged that the peer review resulted in unequivocal recommendations that differed greatly from Defendant’s in that other and additional major structural work not recommended by Defendant would be necessary to complete the Project. As a result, Plaintiff terninated Defendant from the project on February 29, 2016. Plaintiff then sued Defendant in the instant action for professional malpractice, alleging that Defendant has cost Plaintiff at least two years of delays on the Project, during which time it had paid for materials which would tum out to be useless and has had to continue paying substantial carrying costs on several vacant residential floors.

On October 12, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiffs September 1 1, 2017 motion pursuant to CPLR 3215 for an order directing the entry of a default judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant. (Affirmation of Skillman, exhibit A.) The Court found that Plaintiff had shown prima facie based upon an affidavit of service that Defendant had been served personally with process pursuant to CPLR 308 (1) on July 8, 2017, at 34 Wedgewood Drive, Coram, NY 11727. The Court found further that Defendant had failed to answer or appear in the instant action and his time to do so had expired. The Court found further that Plaintiff had submitted adequate proof of the facts constituting its claim by means of the affidavits of merit of Mr. Zampetti, an authorized representative of Plaintiff, and Mr. Nusbaum, a managing member of Plaintiff. As such, the Court directed the Clerk to enter a judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant on the issue of liability and further directed an assessment of damages.”

“On February 15, 2018, J.H.O. Gammerman held the inquest on damages. (See affirmation of Skillman, exhibit B [Tr].) Defendant appeared pro se at the inquest in his first appearance in
this action. J.H.O. Gammerman began by explaining to Defendant that a default judgment had
been entered against him as to liability establishing that Defendant was negligent in his profession. Defendant responded by asking to open the default judgment. J.H.O. Gammerman replied that Defendant would need to make a motion to do that. Defendant replied by saying he would like to move now, but J.H.O. Gammerman told Defendant that the issue was not before him.”

“Defendant stated that he had previously failed to appear in the instant action “[b Jecause
[he himself] was in the hospital.” (Tr at 7, line 3.) “

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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.