In a stark turnabout, Gross v Aronson, Mayefsky & Sloan, LLP
2019 NY Slip Op 32972(U) October 9, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County
Docket Number: 153274/2017 Judge: Anthony Cannataro illustrates the compelling defense given to prior counsel when successor counsel takes over and fails to fix a problem facing the first attorney.  If the problem is not solved, it is for one of two reasons.  Either the problem cannot be solved (i.e. no attorney malpractice by either) or it could have been solved, but the second attorney failed.  In either factual setting, the first attorney may be off the hook.

“Defendant provides new information that materially alters this Court’s decision on both remaining causes of action. In support of its motion to renew the second cause of action, defendant relies on transcripts from a separate proceeding in which a referee recommend that a judgment be entered in plaintiff’s favor for outstanding expenses through December 2018 in the amount of $109,916.18. As this judgment includes the
extracurricular and nanny expenses at issue in the second cause of action, it represents a new and material fact that warrants renewal. Where documentary evidence establishes that successor counsel had sufficient time and opportunity to adequately protect plaintiff’s rights, prior counsel’s alleged negligence cannot be considered a proximate cause of plaintiff’s alleged damages (Maksimiak v Schwartzapfel Novick Truhowsky Marcus,
P.C., 82 AD3d 652, 652 [1st Dept 2011]). Upon renewal the Court finds that as successor counsel obtained a judgment covering the exact expenses that defendant allegedly failed to recover, defendant’s failure to seek such expenses cannot be a proximate cause of her damages and therefore plaintiff’s second cause of action must be dismissed.  “

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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.