Gengo v Storms   2019 NY Slip Op 02504  Decided on April 3, 2019 Appellate Division, Second Department displays the importance of the nuts and bolts of litigation.  Commencing the action and serving the defendant is the base of any litigation, and here, it went south very quickly.

“On October 23, 2016, the plaintiff commenced this action sounding in legal malpractice. In March 2017, the defendant moved, inter alia, pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(8) to dismiss the complaint based on the failure to serve process after two defective attempts at service. The plaintiff opposed the motion and cross-moved, among other things, pursuant to CPLR 306-b to extend the plaintiff’s time to serve process. After a hearing to determine the validity of service, the Supreme Court granted the subject branch of the defendant’s motion and denied the subject branch of the plaintiff’s cross motion. The plaintiff appeals.

“An extension of time for service is a matter within the court’s discretion” (Leader v Maroney, Ponzini & Spencer, 97 NY2d 95, 101). Such a motion may be granted upon “good cause shown or in the interest of justice” (CPLR 306-b). ” Good cause’ and interest of justice’ are two separate and independent statutory standards” (Bumpus v New York City Tr. Auth., 66 AD3d 26, 31).

Both of the plaintiff’s attempts at service were defective. The plaintiff failed to establish that he exercised reasonably diligent efforts in attempting to effect proper service. Accordingly, he did not establish a basis for a “good cause” extension of time to serve process pursuant to CPLR 306-b (see Hobbins v North Star Orthopedics, PLLC, 148 AD3d 784, 787-788; Wilbyfont v New York Presbyt. Hosp., 131 AD3d 605, 607). Nor has the plaintiff set forth grounds for an extension of time in the interest of justice. Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination to grant that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint and to deny that branch of the plaintiff’s cross motion which was to extend the time to serve process.”

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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.