Sultan v Zhu 2020 NY Slip Op 01285 Decided on February 25, 2020
Appellate Division, First Department is the story of a group of people living in a small condominium building.  Some were celebrities, some not.  Money disputes raged for years and years.  Finally, they dissolved into legal malpractice disputes.

“Defendants were retained by plaintiff in July of 2013 to represent him in an underlying action involving a dispute over allocation of repairs of condominium common areas in a townhouse. On appeal, plaintiff argues primarily that defendants negligently represented him because they failed to succeed in relieving him of a judgment in the amount of over $538,000 that had been entered against him in December 2012, notwithstanding an earlier judgment, entered in February 2003, following arbitration, which capped his liability at $127,660. Plaintiff alleges that defendants failed to even bring the fact of the inconsistent judgments to the court’s attention.

Plaintiff’s allegations in this vein do not amount to actionable malpractice (see Nomura Asset Capital Corp. v Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, 26 NY3d 40, 50 [2015]). The record makes clear that the judge who directed entry of both judgments was fully aware of the terms of the earlier judgment, but the circumstances had changed in the intervening ten years due to Dr. Sultan’s own delays and the added costs that his obstruction had caused. As such, the second judgment superseded the first, and the two were not inconsistent.

The IAS court also correctly determined that the remainder of the allegations underlying plaintiff’s malpractice claims were barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5) (see e.g. Karakash v Trakas, 163 AD3d 788 [2d Dept 2018]; Vera v Low Income Mktg. Corp., 145 AD3d 509, 510 [1st Dept 2016]). Many of the issues raised in the complaint have already been fully vetted and decided against Dr. Sultan despite his being precluded from relitigating those issues on appeal (id.).”

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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.