An attorney acts for the client.  More than three years passes from those acts, and the client wants to sue.  How does the statute of limitations apply, what acts by the attorney might extend the statute, and how does “fraud” play into the analysis?

Capone v LDH Mgt. Holdings LLC  2020 NY Slip Op 30013(U) January 2, 2020 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 651794/2015
Judge: Jennifer G. Schecter  discusses these issues.

“Defendants’ contentions that their counterclaims are grounded in fraud or that plaintiffs deceptively caused them to wait until after 2014 to assert such claims ate baseless. To be sure, the limitations period for fiduciary duty claims involving fraud is six years plus two years from when a reasonable person knew or should have known about the fraud (Kaufman v Cohen, 307 AD2d 113, 119 [1st Dept 2003], see Aozora Bank, Ltd. v Credit Suisse Group, 144 AD3d 437, 438 [1st Dept 2016]). The fraud, however, must not be incidental to the breach of fiduciary duty (see Romano.ff v
Romanoff, 148 AD3d 614, 616 [1st Dept 2017]; Access Point Med., LLC v Mandell, 106 AD3d 40, 44 [1st Dept 2013] [“failure to disclose a conflict of interest does not transform a breach of fiduciary duty into a fraud”]). Additionally, a failure to disclose one’s own alleged wrongdoing does not toll the statute of limitations (Ross v Louise Wise Servs., Inc., 8 NY3d 478, 491 [2007] [“a plaintiff may not rely on the same act that forms the basis for the claim” to obtain a toll and there must be “some conduct on the part of the defendant after the initial wrongdoing; mere silence or failure to disclose the wrongdoing is insufficient”] [emphasis added]). Here, the alleged fraud is Scheinman’s “concealment of his disloyal dealings” (Dkt. 135 at 13; Dkt. 141 at 20). It is incidental to the alleged breach of fiduciary duty and there is no basis for any toll.”

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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.