Superstorm Sandy caused a lot of damage, and exposed quite a few problems.  These latent problems only came to light as the water receded. Glazier Group, Inc. v Nova Cas. Co. 2018 NY Slip Op 32576(U)  October 5, 2018  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 159101/2014 Judge: Melissa A. Crane is an example of a problem at the South Street Seaport.

After the storm hit, plaintiff found out that it did not have flood insurance.  What to do?  Litigation against the carrier failed, but continues against the broker.

“For their fourth cause of action, plaintiffs allege that HUB had a special relationship with plaintiffs, who relied on HUB’ s advice and counsel in insurance matters. Plaintiffs further allege that they relied on Fiorito’s statements that HUB had procured all of the necessary insurance for Bridgewaters, and did not obtain additional coverage. HUB argues that there was no such
special relationship between the parties. In opposition, plaintiffs argue that their course of dealing with HUB establishes such a relationship.
Negligent misrepresentation requires proof “(l) [of] the existence of a special or privitylike  relationship imposing a duty on [Plaintiffs and Third-Party Defendants] to impart correct  information to [Defendants/Third-Party Plaintiffs]; (2) that the information was incorrect; and (3)
reasonable reliance on the information” (JA. 0. Acquisition Corp. v. Stavitsky, 8 NY3d 144, 148 [2007]). In the context of insurance brokers and insureds, a special relationship may arise when
“(I) the agent receives compensation for consultation apart from payment of the premiums; (2) there was some interaction regarding a question of coverage, with the insured relying on the expertise of the agent; or (3) there is a course of dealing over an extended period ohime which would have put objectively reasonable insurance agents on notice that their advice was being sought and specially relied on” (Voss v Netherlands Ins. Co., 22 NY3d 728, 735 [2014] [internal citation omitted]). “[T]he issue of whether such additional responsibilities should be recognized and given legal effect is governed by the particular relationship between the parties and is best determined on a case-by-case basis” (Murphy v Kuhn, 90 NY2d 266, 272 [1997]).

Here, plaintiffs successfully allege that they reasonably relied on Fiorito’s incorrect statement that HUB had procured flood insurance. Further, while the complaint does not allege that TGG paid HUB for consultation in addition to premium payments, plaintiffs do claim that that TGG came to HUB with coverage questions, and that HUB was TGG’s exclusive insurance broker (F AC, ~~ 113-115). On a motion to dismiss, these allegations are sufficient to show a special relationship (Voss, 22 NY3d at 735).
Nevertheless, this claim must be dismissed as duplicative. The core allegation underlying this claim is that HUB failed to procure flood insurance for TGG, the same allegation giving rise to plaintiffs’ claims for negligence and breach of contract. Moreover, plaintiff seeks the same damages on each of those three claims, as well as additional consequential damages on the breach of contract claim “

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
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.