Attorney billing is the center of the attorney world, and the greatest part of attorney-client litigation arises from or concerns attorney billing.  Ledyard v Bical  2019 NY Slip Op 30739(U)  March 20, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 150470/2018  Judge: Arthur F. Engoron is an excellent example.  Arrested, indicted and shown the evidence by the EDNY, plaintiff pled guilty.  His co-defendant, charged with a  slightly lesser series of crimes went to trial and was acquitted.  This fact was the linchpin of the counterclaim against Ledyard.  Supreme Court agreed with Ledyard that it had an account stated, and all else in the case fell in line.

“This consolidated action arises from the criminal trial and legal defense of Lilahar Bical (“Bical”). Bical was a franchised dealer for General Motors Corporation operating under the name of “Kristal Auto Mall.” Bical and a co-defendant, Darmin Bachu (“Bachu”), were indicted by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (hereafter “U.S. Attorney’s Office”) and charged with mail and wire fraud arising out of Bical’s purchase of land in Brooklyn to build a new  dealership complex. In November of 2016, Bical engaged Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP (“CLM”) to replace his then-current counsel. CLM alleges, and Bical concedes, that the FBI possessed wiretap recordings that were used by the FBI in its prosecution and plea deal negotiations with Bical. In October 2017, Bical entered a guilty plea pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Bical had been charged as the alleged perpetrator of the scheme. Bachu had been charged with aiding and abetting the scheme.  Bachu elected to take his case to trial, where he was acquitted. Bical then, unsuccessfully, sought to withdraw his guilty plea, citing ineffective assistance of counsel. ”

“CLM is entitled to judgment in the amount of $258,394.67 in legal fees on a theory of account
stated. “[W]here an account is rendered showing a balance, the party receiving it must, within a
reasonable time, examine it and object, if he disputes its correctness. If he omits to do so, he will
be deemed by his silence to have acquiesced, and will be bound by it as an account stated, unless
fraud, mistake or other equitable considerations are shown.” Shaw v Silver, 95 AD3d 416, 416
(1st Dep’t 2012). CLM has met its prima facie burden by providing evidence that it sent to Bical
regular, detailed invoices for the legal services for which CLM now seeks to recover. The partial
payments by Bical in the amount of over $450,000.00 over the life of CLM’s representation of
Bical further evidences CLM’s entitlement to payment. IQ_, Bical’s conclusory and untimely
letter by his new attorney, dated December 13. 2007. that states “‘Mr. Bical disputes each and
every invoice you have sent his way” is insufficient to raise a triable issue as to whether CLM’s
statements of account were in fact disputed. A& W Egg Co. v Tufo’s Wholesale Dairy, Inc., 169
AD3d 616 (1st Dep’t 2019). For an objection to rebut sufficiently a prima facia entitlement to an
account stated, it must raise a complaint to a specific amount or invoice. It is not enough, at the
11th hour, and after having partially paid invoices for over a year, to state retroactively that you
object to every invoice that was ever sent. Schulte Roth & Zabel. LLP v Kassover, 80 AD3d
500, 501 (1st Dep’t 2011). “

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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.