Candero v Del Virginia  2019 NY Slip Op 30436(U)  February 26, 2019  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 151983/2018  Judge: Barbara Jaffe discusses the various relationships and potential legal malpractice in a case which traveled from New York to Florida, and in which the lawfirms kept changing shape.

“Relying on the advice of third-party plaintiff Del Virginia, plaintiffs initiated a bankruptcy proceeding in New York to mitigate liability they faced in another action. Del Virginia also advised them that their Florida residence would be exempt from creditors’ claims. Subsequently, the bankruptcy proceeding was transferred to Florida, where a non-party took over for Del Virginia.

Once in Florida, plaintiffs learned that their Florida residence was not exempt from creditors’ claims, and they were forced to enter into a $200,000 settlement, most of which applied to their Florida residence. Plaintiffs assert that but for Del Virginia’s negligence in advising them to initiate the bankruptcy proceeding, they would not have entered into the settlement and paid attorney fees. (NYSCEF 10). ”

“On March 5, 2018, plaintiffs filed a complaint against Del Virginia for legal malpractice in connection with filing for bankruptcy protection in September 2015. (NYSCEF 10). On June 15, 2018, Del Virginia filed its third-party complaint against Lubliner Kish alleging that to the extent Del Virginia is liable to plaintiffs, Lubliner Kish should be held liable to Del Virginia for either the full amount awarded or a portion thereof. Specifically, Del Virginia alleges that Lubliner Kish was negligent in advising plaintiffs with regard to the settlement. (NYSCEF 11 ). On July 9, 2018, Lubliner Kish changed its name to Lubliner Law PLLC. (NYSCEF 26). ”

“For solicitation within New York by a non-domiciliary to constitute a “transaction of business” for the purposes of CPLR 3 02( a )(1 ), it must be accompanied by business transactions occurring in New York or by sufficient permanence and continuity in New York. ( O’Brien v Hackensack Univ. Med. Ctr., 305 AD2d 199, 201 [I8t Dept 2003]). Although the screenshots from Lubliner Kish’ s website reflect a targeted solicitation of legal services to New York residents, and its social media posts reflect that it advertises that its staff includes attorneys admitted in New York and that it maintains an office in New York, the screenshots are undated and disputed. Thus, they are not dispositive as to whether Lubliner Kish actually has a tangible presence in New York. (See Venegas v Capric Clinic, 147 AD3d 457, 458 [!81 Dept 2017] [contradicted website information alone is insufficient to establish jurisdiction]). The affirmations of Richard Lubliner and Matthew Kish raise an issue of fact and entitle Del Virginia to limited discovery on the issue. (Id. [contradictions between defendant’s statements and those on his website regarding business transactions in New York warranted discovery]). Thus, although Del Virginia offers no definitive evidence that Lubliner Kish maintains an office in New York or has transacted business in New York with the requisite permanence and continuity he nonetheless advances a “sufficient start” to show that there may be personal jurisdiction over defendant. ”

 

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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.