Legal malpractice in child custody / child support settings is notoriously difficult to prove. To begin, there is often a privity problem.  If that issue is solved, then the speculation question of “what would the judge have done if…” comes up.  It seems that this was the shortcoming in Chaudhuri v Kilmer 2018 NY Slip Op 00964 [158 AD3d 1276]  February 9, 2018 Appellate Division, Fourth Department.  The question of how a judge would have ruled if the attorney had presented this particular piece of evidence or that argument rarely works out in plaintiff’s favor.

“We likewise affirm the order in appeal No. 1. In order to recover damages in a legal malpractice action, a plaintiff must establish that the attorney “failed to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession, that this failure was the proximate cause of actual damages to plaintiff, and that the plaintiff would have succeeded on the merits of the underlying action but for the attorney’s negligence” (Hufstader v Friedman & Molinsek, P.C., 150 AD3d 1489, 1489 [3d Dept 2017] [internal quotation marks omitted]). In moving for summary judgment dismissing the complaint in such an action, a defendant must “present evidence in admissible form establishing that plaintiff is unable to prove at least one of [those] elements” (id. at 1490 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see New Kayak Pool Corp. v Kavinoky Cook LLP, 125 AD3d 1346, 1348 [4th Dept 2015]). Here, defendant met her initial burden on the motion by establishing that plaintiff is unable to prove proximate cause and damages, and plaintiff “failed to submit nonspeculative evidence in support of” those elements in opposition to defendant’s motion (New Kayak Pool Corp., 125 AD3d at 1348 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Hufstader, 150 AD3d at 1490-1491; Barbieri v Fishoff, 98 AD3d 703, 704-705 [2d Dept 2012]). “

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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.