Perhaps the better question is how did the underwriter not see subsequent new stories that the coal mine was a fiction?

“According to the February 2016 complaint, plaintiff was co-lead underwriter of a public offering of stock by Puda Coal, Inc., whose principal asset was its 90% interest in Shanxi Coal. Defendant was retained as counsel for the underwriters to conduct due diligence, but allegedly failed to detect and inform plaintiff that Puda no longer possessed that 90% interest.

The malpractice claim was properly dismissed as time-barred (see CPLR 214[6]), and the doctrine of equitable estoppel “will not toll a limitations statute where plaintiffs possessed timely knowledge sufficient to have placed them under a duty to make inquiry and ascertain all the relevant facts prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations” (Rite Aid Corp. v Grass, 48 AD3d 363, 364-365 [1st Dept 2008]). Here, the alleged malpractice occurred in December 2010 when defendant issued its opinion letter that “nothing has come to our attention that leads us to believe” that the registration statement “contained an untrue statement of a material fact or omitted to state a material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading.” Thereafter, a public report which broke the news of Puda’s fraud on April 8, 2011 confirmed that the fraudulent transfers of ownership of Shanxi Coal were documented in government filings. There was nothing preventing plaintiff from accusing defendant of substandard care in April 2011, based on defendant’s opinion letter, when compared to statements made in the public report and the securities litigation that followed in April 2011.”

“Plaintiff’s contention that it relied on defendant because it was a large, international law firm with alleged expertise in China-based companies, and because it trusted that defendant would comply with professional standards and its fiduciary duty to advise plaintiff if its work product was deficient, is misplaced. Plaintiff maintains that defendant’s withdrawal as counsel did not exempt it from such standards, as the decision to terminate the relationship constituted an act of concealment that “left [plaintiff] in the dark regarding the extent of [defendant’s] potential liability.” Even if plaintiff’s allegations of concealment were true, “plaintiff [has] failed to demonstrate [its] due diligence, for [it was] on inquiry notice by at least [2011] and failed to make a reasonable investigation” (MBI Intl. Holdings Inc. v Barclays Bank PLC, 151 AD3d 108, 117 [1st Dept 2017], lv denied 29 NY3d 919 [2017]).”

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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.