While one might think that the professional negligence field, which probably includes attorneys, brokers, real estate professionals, insurance professionals and designers has the same rules for all, that would be incorrect. Murphy v GHD, Inc2019 NY Slip Op 33476(U) November 27, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 153468/2019
Judge: Robert D. Kalish illustrates the application of CPLR 214(d) to licensed engineers and architects.

In cases involving cases alleging design defects brought more than 10 years after completion, a heightened level of proof is required.

“CPLR 214-d and 321 l(h) were added by the Legislature in 1996 to reform
New York’s tort law, which, at the time, “tended to facilitate marginal claims against design professionals based on defects arising long after their work was completed and the improvements for which they were initially responsible had been in the owner’s possession and subject to the owner’s use and maintenance.” (Castle Vil. Owners Corp. v Greater New York Mut. Ins. Co., 58 AD3d 178, 183 [1st Dept 2008] [Lippman, P.J.]; see also Vincent C. Alexander, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, CPLR 214-d [2019] [“The purpose of CPLR 214-d is to provide ‘an expedited procedural device to quickly dispose of cases brought against a design professional more than ten years after completion that lack a basis in substantial evidence.'” [quoting Legislative Memorandum at 2614].) As the First Department
has further explained:

“The ‘substantial basis’ standard set forth in CPLR 321 l(h) constitutes a departure from the standard ordinarily applicable to the review of CPLR 3211 motions to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action. Rather than determine whether the allegations of the complaint when viewed most favorably to the plaintiff fall within any cognizable legal theory, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under CPLR 3211(h) must
look beyond the face of the pleadings to determine whether the claim alleged is supported by ‘such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact’ (Senate Mem. in Support at 2614). While under this standard a plaintiff need not demonstrate that the claim is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, a fair inference to be drawn from the legislative history is
that CPLR 321 l(h) was intended to heighten the court’s scrutiny of the complaint and thereby make it easier to dismiss a CPLR 214–d action than other types of negligence actions.”

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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.