Naivete is the assigned cause of the sale of a building without full payment, but legal malpractice is the claimed reason.  Problem?  Plaintiff started the action 4 years after the sale.  Hudson 418 Riv. Rd., LLC v Safiya Consultants Inc.  2019 NY Slip Op 31506(U)  May 24, 2019  Supreme Court, Kings County  Docket Number: 510351/18  Judge: Leon Ruchelsman is a short story of heartbreak.

“As recorded in prior orders, property located at 986 Gates Avenue in Kings County was owned by  Kobas and Solih Realty LLC. On March 13, 2014 the owner entered into a contract to sell half the ownership interest to defendant Brooklyn Broadway Masjid and Islamic Center [hereinafter ‘the
Masjid’]. It is alleged the Masjid did not pay the agreed upon price and that due to the naivete of Mr. Amin Kobas, the principal of the owner, the sale was effectuated in any event. Further, it is alleged the Masjid assumed management of the entire building.

Conclusions of Law

The basis for any claims against defendant Kwasnik are based on the fact that as counsel to Kobas failed to stop the closing from taking place, essentially committing legal malpractice. Indeed, the sixth count of the complaint is a claim for professional malpractice against Kwasnik. It is
well settled that a legal malpractice claim must be filed within three years of the alleged malpractice (CPLR §214(6)). Thus, since there is no dispute the closing took place in 2014 and the lawsuit was not commenced until 2018 the claim against Kwasnik cannof be maintained. The plaintiff argues that any defense regarding the statute of limitations has been waived. However, for a defendant to waive the statute of limitations they must fail to raise it in the answer or by appropriate motion (Matter of Augenblick, 66 NY2d 775, 497 NYS2d 363  [1985]). It s true the defendant has waited a few months until this motion has been filed, however, this is the first responsive molion they have filed and other motions, unrelated to Kwasnik, have contributed to a hearing on this issue. Moreover, any fraud claim that has been alleged as to Kwasnik is really a malpractice claim and is thus duplicative of the malpractice claim. Therefore, since the lawsuit has been filed more than three years after the events giving rise to the claim the motion of Kwasnik seeking to dismiss the complaint as to him is granted”

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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.