Citing a “strong public policy to dispose of cases on their merits” the Appellate Division First Department reversed in Cornwall Warehousing, Inc. v Lerner  2019 NY Slip Op 02825
Decided on April 16, 2019.

“Plaintiffs demonstrated a reasonable excuse for their default (CPLR 5015[a][1]), based on law office failure, as detailed in the affirmation of their former counsel who miscalendared the motion (CPLR 2005; People’s United Bank v Latini Tuxedo Mgt., LLC, 95 AD3d 1285, 1286 [2d Dept 2012]). Plaintiffs then moved to vacate the order entered on their default, showing that they had a meritorious defense to the underlying motion to strike their complaint pursuant to CPLR 3126 (c), since they were not in default of any disclosure order (see John Quealy Irrevocable Life Ins. Trust v AXA Equit. Life Ins. Co., 151 AD3d 592, 593 [1st Dept 2017], lv dismissed 30 NY3d 1091 [2018]; DaimlerChrysler Ins. Co. v Seck, 82 AD3d 581, 582 [1st Dept 2011]). Plaintiffs also demonstrated a potentially meritorious cause of action by providing the affidavit of their president setting forth the basis of their legal malpractice claim (see Cheri Rest., Inc. v Eoche, 144 AD3d 578, 579-580 [1st Dept 2016]).

In light of the strong public policy of this State to dispose of cases on their merits, the court improvidently exercised its discretion in denying plaintiffs’ motion to vacate the order entered on default (DaimlerChrysler Ins. Co. v Seck, 82 AD3d at 582; see Chelli v Kelly Group, P.C., 63 AD3d 632 [1st Dept 2009]).”

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.