There is great dispute over the elements of Judiciary Law § 487.  Is it attempted deceit or successful deceit?  Does it require egregious conduct, or chronic conduct or chronic and extreme conduct or a pattern of delinquency?

Schwartzman v Pliskin, Rubano, Baum & Vitulli  2019 NY Slip Op 30419(U)  January 14, 2019  Supreme Court, Queens County  Docket Number: 714510/2017  Judge: Joseph Risi takes the position that all the above are required.

“Section 487 of the Judiciary Law broadly provides for a private civil cause of action for treble
damages against lawyers who deceive any party or the court. Relief under this statute, however, is
reserved for a chronic, extreme pattern of legal delinquency (see Bridges v 725 Riverside Drive, Inc., 119 AD2d 789 [1986]; see also Wiggin v Gordon, 115 Misc. 2d 1071 [1982]), or for misconduct that is chronic. (See Bridges v 725 Riverside Drive, Inc., supra.) Furthermore, to recover under Section 487, a plaintiff must plead and prove both actual deceit by the attorney and causation, that is, that the deceit or collusion actually caused the plaintiffs damages. (See Maroulis v Sari M Friedman, P.C., supra; see also Gumarova v Law Offe. of Paul A. Boronow, P.C., 129 AD3d 911 [2015]; Mizuno v Barak, 113 AD3d 825 [2014]).

Thus, even egregious misconduct will not rise to the level of a violation of Section 487 ifthere is no pattern of intentional deceit or wrongdoing. Here, defendants PRBV and Vitulli, Esq. demonstrated that plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action for violation of Judiciary Law §487 as plaintiffs did not allege the requisite pattern of wrongdoing or deceit necessary to sustain such claim. (See CPLR §3211 [a][7].) Defendants PRBV and Vitulli, Esq. further demonstrated that plaintiff John’s statements in his affidavits submitted in the Tabco and Beroukhim actions constitute informal judicial admissions and documentary evidence warranting the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claim of violation of Judiciary Law §487. (See CPLR §3211 [a][l]; see also Morgenthow & Latham v Bank of N. Y. Co., supra.) Accordingly, that branch of the motion of defendants PRBV and Vitulli, Esq. which seeks dismissal of plaintiffs’ third cause of action for violation of Judiciary Law §487 is granted. “

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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.