Wang v Hon  2018 NY Slip Op 32686(U)  October 23, 2018  Supreme Court, Queens County
Docket Number: 12353/17 Judge: Allan B. Weiss is the story of a million law suits over two side-by-side houses in Queens where the litigation is never-ending.  Defendant has a judgment lien which has attached to the neighbor’s house, and Plaintiff has done everything in its power to shake off the judgment.  Nothing, including a claim of Judiciary Law § 487 has worked.  The JL claim failed because it did not arise in a litigation setting.

““ On April 1, 2003, Roug Kang Wang and Stella Wang (collectively the Wangs or the Wang plaintiffs), as purchasers, entered into a contract for the purchase of property known as 132-05 41 Road, Flushing, New York (the subject property) from Prince Development Co. LLC at a price
of $2,000,000. In 2005, the Wangs began the instant action in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Queens, for, inter alia the specific performance of the contract of sale (Wang v.Chien-Tsang Lin, Index No. 11000/05), and pursuant to an order dated April 10, 2013, the Wangs were
granted specific performance against Prince. The subject property was conveyed to the Wangs by a sheriff’s deed dated May 3, 2013. John Hon, Julie Hon, and John Hon, D.O., PC., (collectively the
Hons), who own real property known as 135-07 41 Road, Flushing, New  York, adjacent to the subject property, are judgment creditors who have a judgment lien on the subject property . The Hons obtained their judgment in the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, in an action captioned Hon v. Prince Development Company, LLC., Index No. 602236/04. The Hons filed their judgment in Queens County on January 30, 2009, and the filing of the judgment created a lien on real property owned by any judgment debtor in Queens County as of that date. Prince Development Co., LLC (Prince) still owned the subject property at the time of the filing of the lien in Queens County on January 30, 2009. Pursuant to a deed dated May 3, 2013, the sheriff conveyed the subject
property to the Wangs, the plaintiffs in the instant action, The Wang plaintiffs transferred the subject property to Wang Real Property LLC (Wang Property), the current owner, by deed dated June 17, 2013.

In or about December, 2014, the Wangs and Wang Property began a special proceeding in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Queens, against the Hons, among others, pursuant to CPLR 5239 for a judgment declaring that the Hons did not have a judgment lien against the subject property (Wang Real Property LLC v; Prince Development Company LLC, Index No. 18415/14) ( the adverse claims proceeding).. Pursuant to a decision and order dated July 8, 2015, the Honorable Diccia T.Pineda Kirwan found, inter alia, that “ upon conveyance of the subject property pursuant to the Sheriff’s deed, the Wangs took title to it subject to the Hon’s judgment lien.”

The court dismissed the petition brought by the Wangs. Neither the Wangs nor Wang Property appealed the order. In 2014, the Emigrant Bank began an action to foreclose on a mortgage on the subject property, and in or about June, 2015, 41 Road Properties LLC purchased the mortgage. The Wangs and Wang Property successfully offered money toward the payment of the debt, and they obtained and recorded a satisfaction of mortgage.
After the satisfaction of the mortgage, the Hons pressed the sale of the subject property to obtain the payment of their judgment lien, and the Sheriff noticed a sale for October 11, 2017. The Wangs and Wang Property made a motion in the New York County action for an “order of protection”  prohibiting the Sheriff’s sale, but by order dated October 6, 2017, the court denied the motion, relying on the decision and order rendered by Justice Pineda-Kirwan.”

“The plaintiffs brought the fourth cause of action pursuant to Judiciary Law § 487 which makes an attorney liable when he is “ guilty of any deceit or collusion, or consents to any deceit or collusion, with intent to deceive the court or any party.” ( See, Jean v. Chinitz, 163 AD3d 497 [ 1 Dept.. 2018].) The Wangs allege that attorney Aronauer advised the Hons to form 41 Road to conceal the fact that the purchaser of the mortgage was not a judgment creditor and to “ circumvent the preclusive laws applicable to mortgagees,” However, Justice Dufficy rejected the arguments raised by the Wangs concerning the propriety of the assignment of the mortgage, and the doctrine of collateral estoppel precludes the Wangs from attempting to relitigate decided issues here. Because the allegations
concerning the propriety of the assignment have been found to be without, the Wangs’ cause of action based on Judiciary Law § 487 is not viable. (See, Stone v. Curran, 245 AD2d 285.) Moreover, insofar as the fourth cause of action also alleges that attorney Aronauer violated Judiciary Law §48 7 by waiting to execute on the Hons’ judgment until after the Wangs paid the mortgage, “ the alleged deceit forming the basis of such a cause of action, if it is not directed at a court, must occur during the course of a ‘pending judicial proceeding’.” (Costalas v. Amalfitano, 305 AD2d 202, 204 [ 1 Dept. 2003].) The complaint does not contain sufficient allegations in that regard.”

 

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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.