Pritisker v Zamansky, LLC  2018 NY Slip Op 32930(U)  November 19, 2018
Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 150595/2017 Judge: Frank P. Nervo  is the kind of legal malpractice case that legal malpractice insurers love.  It appears to be a one-off, or a pro-se case in which a checklist of the elements of legal malpractice have been overlooked, and in which prior litigation dooms the present case.

“While the court has not converted this motion into one for summary judgment, it will consider
the document plaintiff submits in opposition to the motion, his memorandum of law in order to
determine whether despite his pleading defect, he has a cause of action. ( see Guggenheimer v.
Ginzburg, id. at 275; Basis Yield Alpha Fund (Master) v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. 115 AD3d
128,135) The memorandum of law demonstrates that plaintiff cannot establish that his action
against AGLIC would have been successful. At page 26 of his memorandum of law, plaintiff
disputes the necessity of showing success in an action against AGLIC. He refers to any such
proof as “an empty boast.” This is an apparent concession that he has no cause of action.
Therefore, dismissal is required under CPLR 3211(a)(7).

The branch of defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to 3211 (a)(l) is also
granted. Defendants submit the arbitration decision denying his claim against the non-AG UC
parties. The decision shows that plaintiff made all his own investment decisions. That decision
has never been reversed and conclusively shows that plaintiff himself caused his own alleged
injury. This decision conclusively and unequivocally establishes defendants’ defense as a matter
of law. ( Warshaw Bernstein Cohen Schlesinger & Kuh, LLP v. Longmire, 106 AD3d 536, 537)
Similarly, the Second Circuit decision, albeit in dicta, that defendants submit shows that
plaintiff himself made his own investment choices and so was not influenced by AGLIC in any
manner. In addition to the decisions, the retainer agreement between plaintiff and defendants
shows that defendants representation was limited to an arbitration between plaintiff and two
other parties. Plaintiff agreed that defendants would not pursue a claim against any other party or entity. The retainer agreement precludes an action against defendants for failure to sue AGLIC. (see Hallman v. Kantor, 72 AD3d 895)

Plaintiff’s causes of action for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty are dismissed because
they are duplicative of the legal malpractice action ( Cohen v. Kachroo, id. at 513), and because,
as with the deficiency in the legal malpractice pleading, they fail to plead the facts necessary to
support them. “

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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.