It has been our observation that in legal malpractice cases Courts tend to dismiss more than in other settings, and that the probable reason for this higher-than-expected rate of dismissals is that Courts tend to favor attorneys over clients in a legal malpractice setting.  Chu v Legere    2018 NY Slip Op 32269(U)  September 14, 2018  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 150065/2018
Judge: Arlene P. Bluth is the rare case in which the solemn statements of Leon v. Martinez are actually applied.

“This legal malpractice case arises out of defendant’s relationship with plaintiffs sister (“Anne”). Defendant met Anne in 1988 and began a friendship that lasted until Anne passed away on July 25, 2016. Defendant also represented Anne in various legal matters including, but not limited to, an uncontested divorce in the 1990s, a real estate transfer in 2003 and a lease agreement for a studio in Queens in 2010.

Plaintiff contends that her sister sought legal advice from defendant to ensure that the disposition of her artwork would conform to her wishes. Plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to prepare or execute an updated will, prepare a~ updated inventory of assets and create a trust (or similar vehicle) to convey Anne’s artwork as she desired. Plaintiff maintains that after Anne passed away, her estate has faced numerous baseless claims and that these problems arise directly from defendant’s malpractice.”

“Anne last updated her will in 2003 and plaintiff insists that in the thirteen years before her death, she had made many changes to her assets and had become estranged from her husband. Plaintiff contends that during a deposition in a parallel proceeding in Queens County Surrogate’s Court, defendant admitted that he had not advised Anne about updating her will and waited until the final months of her illness when Anne was no longer able to attempt to complete the required tasks.

Plaintiff also alleges that there were a series of meetings between defendant and Anne about the sale and conservation of her artwork. At a meeiing on June 30, 2016, plaintiff argues that defendant prepared three separate durable power of attorney (“POA”) documents for Anne to execute and that two of the three were executed. Pl~intiffinsists that defendant did not include a statutory gift rider to these POAs which would have allowed an agent to assist Anne with estate planning. ”

“The Court recognizes that an attorney’s representation of a client on several distinct matters over many years does not automatically mean that the attorney represents a client for all matters. However, the fact that defendant was Anne’s sometime attorney helps defeat the motion to dismiss because, taking plaintiffs allegations as true, it is clear that Anne did use his professional services at times. And plaintiff claims that defendant took actions in his capacity as an attorney relating to PO As and to update Anne’s will. Defendant’s denial of plaintiffs allegations is not enough for this Court to grant his motion at this stage of the litigation.

Discovery may reveal that defendant was merely assisting his sick friend to gather information to present to a qualified estate attorney rather than acting as her attorney, that his efforts caused the estate no damage or that, even ifhe did undertake to represent her, he simply did not have enough time to complete certain tasks before Anne passed away. But the Court cannot grant defendant’s motion to dismiss under the circumstances here.”

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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.