Ripa v Petrosyants  2019 NY Slip Op 32638(U) August 15, 2019 Supreme Court, Kings County Docket Number: 510658/17 restates the age old principle that one may not successfully sue an attorney unless there was an attorney-client relationship, or something very, very close to it.  This was a restaurant investment gone bad.  Judge Leon Ruchelsman  picks up:

“To succeed on a claim for.legal malpractice it must be shown that the attorney failed to act with the “ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal professional (Darby & Darby, P.C. v; VST International, Inc., 95 NY2d 308, 716 NYS2d 378 [2000]). As a preliminary matter, of course, there must be evidence of an attorney client: relationship (Wei Cheng Chang v. Pi, 288 AD2d 378, 733 NYS2d 471 [2d Dept., 2001]) . A client’s unilateral belief that an attorney client
relationship existed is insufficient to establish such relationship
even though a formal retainer agreement is not required (Terio v.
Spodek, 63 AD3d 719, 880 NYS2d 679 [2d Dept., 2015]). Thus, “to
prove an attorney-client relationship, there must be an explicit
undertaking “to perform a specific task” (Nelson v. Roth, 69 AD3d
912, 893 NYS2d 605 [2d Dept., 2010]).

The plaintiff has asserted an attorney client relationship existed but has failed to present any evidence supporting that contention. The plaintiff asserts that Ofshtein “billed several thousand dollars for legal services” (Affirmation in Opposition, 9). However, the plaintiff has not presented any evidence of any such bills that would conclusively substantiate the allegation contained in the complaint. Thus, ‘that allegation is conclusory
and, unsupported. Consequently, the plaintiff has failed to establish an attorney client relationship and consequently the motion to dismiss the malpractice claim 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…

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.