King Tower Realty Corp. v G & G Funding Corp.  2018 NY Slip Op 05027  Decided on July 5, 2018  Appellate Division, Second Department illustrates the power of the statute of limitations.  While plaintiff may succeed in Supreme Court, many such decisions are reversed in the AD.  This is one.

“The plaintiff commenced this action on February 27, 2015, inter alia, to recover damages for breach of contract, fraud, and legal malpractice. The plaintiff alleged that it retained the defendant Maximo A. Figueredo, an attorney, in connection with its procurement of a loan from the defendant G & G Funding Corp. (hereinafter G & G Funding) relating to real property the plaintiff owned in Queens. A mortgage was executed on June 30, 2010. On January 5, 2012, after G & G Funding declared a default on the loan, the plaintiff executed a deed and contract of sale in lieu of foreclosure transferring title to the property to G & G Funding. The plaintiff alleged that Figueredo made false and misleading statements and improperly advised it to execute the deed on the basis that the deed would be held in escrow, the other defendants could collect rents from the properties, and the plaintiff preserved a right of redemption.”

“Here, Figueredo established that the legal malpractice cause of action accrued on January 5, 2012, when the plaintiff executed the deed and contract of sale in lieu of foreclosure transferring title to the property to G & G Funding, allegedly based upon Figueredo’s advice and misrepresentations. Since the plaintiff did not commence this action until February 27, 2015, more than three years later, Figueredo demonstrated, prima facie, that the legal malpractice cause of action was time-barred (see Quinn v McCabe, Collins, McGeough & Fowler, LLP, 138 AD3d at 1086; Alizio v Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C., 126 AD3d at 735; Landow v Snow Becker Krauss, P.C., 111 AD3d at 796).

In opposition, the plaintiff’s submissions failed to demonstrate that any damages were incurred after the conveyance of the property on January 5, 2012. Further, there is no indication that Figueredo performed any legal services for the plaintiff with respect to the ownership or the financing of property after the January 5, 2012, conveyance. The plaintiff, thus, failed to raise a question of fact as to whether the alleged legal malpractice occurred at any time after January 5, 2012, or whether any continued representation by Figueredo served to toll the statute of limitations (see Quinn v McCabe, Collins, McGeough & Fowler, LLP, 138 AD3d at 1087; Alizio v Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C., 126 AD3d at 736; Landow v Snow Becker Krauss, P.C., 111 AD3d at 797).”

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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.