Rockland County:  First, the house was lost to foreclosure.  Then the case was lost to res judicata.  Doomed from the beginning, the plaintiff was then deprived of the right to start another action or bring another motion.  Eaddy v U.S. Bank N.A2020 NY Slip Op 01047 Decided on February 13, 2020 Appellate Division, Second Department shows how difficult it can be for a pro-se to get results.

“The plaintiff commenced this action, inter alia, to quiet title to certain real property and to recover damages for fraud and violations of Judiciary Law § 487, arising from the procurement of a judgment of foreclosure and sale in a prior action to foreclose a mortgage encumbering the subject property. The defendant Brian H. Berkowitz, the defendants Steven J. Baum, P.C., and Charles D.J. Case (hereinafter together the Baum defendants), the defendants U.S. Bank National Association, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Hogan Lovells US, LLP, and Jordan Estes (hereinafter collectively the U.S. Bank defendants), and the defendants Gross Polowy, LLC, and Amanda Rudroff-Lavis (hereinafter together the Gross Polowy defendants) separately moved pursuant to CPLR 3211(a) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against each of them, arguing, among other things, that this action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata.”

“”Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final adjudication of a claim on the merits precludes relitigation of that claim and all claims arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions by a party or those in privity with a party” (Ciraldo v JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 140 AD3d 912, 913; see Djoganopoulos v Polkes, 67 AD3d 726, 727; Sclafani v Story Book Homes, 294 AD2d 559, 559). “A judgment of foreclosure and sale is final as to all questions at issue between the parties, and concludes all matters of defense which were or could have been litigated in the foreclosure action” (Ciraldo v JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 140 AD3d at 913; see SSJ Dev. of Sheepshead Bay I, LLC v Amalgamated Bank, 128 AD3d 674, 675; Dupps v Betancourt, 121 AD3d 746, 747). A judgment by default that has not been vacated is conclusive for res judicata purposes and encompasses the issues that were raised or could have been raised in the prior action (see Richter v Sportsmans Props., Inc., 82 AD3d 733, 734; 83-17 Broadway Corp. v Debcon Fin. Servs., Inc., 39 AD3d 583, 585; Rosendale v Citibank, 262 AD2d 628). Here, the judgment of foreclosure and sale entered upon the plaintiff’s default in the foreclosure action encompassed all issues that were raised or could have been raised in that action, and precludes her from asserting the causes of action raised in this action.”

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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.