Aside from the normal, every-day problem of attorney fees in litigation and how they tend to stack up, in Quadracci v Klein  2019 NY Slip Op 33837(U) December 24, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 650913/2016 Judge: Nancy M. Bannon there was a multiplication effect as attorney fees upon attorney fees had to be considered.

Starting off, this was a discovery dispute in which defendants were required to pay attorney fees to plaintiffs.  However, defendants’ attorneys had some other issues on their mind.

“In this action to recover a security deposit paid pursuant to a lease agreement, the court,by order dated December 11, 2017, struck the defendants’ answer and counterclaims due to their repeated failure to comply with court-ordered discovery, found the defendants in default,
awarded the plaintiffs judgment in the sum of $82,500.00, plus statutory interest, and referred the issue of the amount due to the plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees and costs to a referee to hear and report. The referee conducted a hearing on April 11, 2018, and thereafter issued a report on December 24, 2018. Based on the documents and presentations at the hearing, the referee recommended that the plaintiff be awarded $143,836.65 in attorneys’ fees, and $9,266.29 in disbursements. The plaintiffs now move to confirm the referee’s report, and the defendants cross-move to reject the referee’s report (MOT SEQ 008). Non-parties Green & Cohen, P.C. and Michael Cohen move pursuant to CPLR 1012 and 1013 to intervene for the purpose of objecting to the confirmation of the referee’s report, and pursuant to CPLR 4403 to reject the referee’s report (MOT SEQ 009). The non-parties’ motion is denied. The referee’s report is confirmed. ”

“Non-parties claim that because of an ongoing legal malpractice action between the defendants in this case and the non-parties, seeking to hold the non-parties liable for the damages and fees incurred in the instant action, they should be allowed to intervene. Nonparties do not dispute the outcome of the underlying action to recover the security deposit or seek to assert any claims or affirmative defenses of their own in the instant action, they only object to the reasonableness of the attorneys’ fees recommended in the referee’s report, as they may be found responsible for said fees depending upon the outcome of the malpractice litigation. Indeed, non-parties recognize in their motion to intervene that it is “perhaps more appropriate to view [their] motion as one to proceed as amicus curiae since [the non-parties] do not really assert any claims or defenses against any party, and vice versa.””

“Inasmuch as the non-parties do not have a claim or defense they wish to assert with a common question of law or fact in the main action (see CPLR 1013) and the defendants and the non-parties share an interest in persuading the court to reject the referee’s report (see CPLR 1012) intervention is not proper. Nor is amicus curiae relief proper. Such a motion would require a showing that: 1) the parties are not capable of a full and adequate presentation and that movants could remedy that deficiency; 2) that movants would invite the court’s attention to law
or arguments that might otherwise escape its consideration; or 3) that movants would otherwise be of special assistance to the court. See 22 NYCRR 500.23.”

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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.