In Mamoon v Dot Net Inc.   2019 NY Slip Op 31053(U)  April 5, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 652902/2013,  Judge Lucy Billings describes the intersection of privity and near privity in an accounting malpractice setting.

“Since accountants owe no duty to the public at large, “privity,” a contractual relationship or similar connection with a mutuality of interest between plaintiff and the Khan defendants, is a necessary
predicate for the Khan defendants’ liability. Parrott v. Coopers & Lybrand. L.L.P., 95 N.Y.2d 479, 483-84 (2000) i State of Cal. Pub. Employees’ Retirement Sys. v. Shearman & Sterling, 95 N.Y.2d
427, 434 (2000); Ossining Union Free School Dist. v. Anderson LaRocca Anderson, 73 N.Y.2d 417, 419 (1989); Credit Alliance Corp. v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 65 N.Y.2d 536, 553-54 (1985).
Consistent with the flexible concept of privity in different contexts, a party without contractual privity still may sustain a claim for malpractice if she maintained a relationship with the professional that was the functional equivalent of contractual privity. Alphas v. Smith, 147 A.D.3d 557, 558 (1st Dep’t 2017); Good Old Days Tavern. Inc. v. Zwirn, 259 A.D.2d 300, 300 (1st
Dep’t 1999); Town Line Plaza Assocs. v. Contemporary Props., 223 A.D.2d 420, 420 (1st Dep’t 1996). See AG Capital Funding Partners. L.P. v. State St. Bank & Trust Co., 5 N.Y.3d 582, 595
(2005); Learning Annex. L.P. v. Blank Rome LLP, 106 A.D.3d 663, 663 (1st Dep’ t 2013) . ”

“Plaintiff demonstrates a direct professional relationship with a mutuality of interest, near contractual privity, with the Khan defendants. She testified, and they do not dispute, that
she was the president and sole shareholder of the Khan defendants’ client, Dot Net, so that their work for Dot Net directly affected her livelihood. She further testified, continually referring to her amended complaint, that this effect was injurious, as their work rendered her personally liable for
credit card, contractual, and tax debts accrued by Dot Net.  Rubin Aff. Ex. C, at 132, 149, Ex. H ~~ 17-19, 69; Alphas v. Smith, 147 A.D.3d at 558; Good Old Days Tavern. Inc. v. Zwirn, 259 A.D.2d at 300. Khan’s deposition testimony that, knowing plaintiff was the sole shareholder of Dot Net, he met and advised her on tax issues relating to the corporation on two separate occasions further demonstrates a direct professional relationship between plaintiff and the Khan defendants. Rubin Aff. Ex. A, at13-16. “

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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.