Dominguez v Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C.  2020 NY Slip Op 00845
Decided on February 5, 2020 Appellate Division, Second Department is not entirely clear on how the underlying case ended.  Plaintiff pro-se might have settled the case and then discontinued, or he might have discontinued in mere pique.  However, neither situation implicates the defendants here.

“The plaintiff was injured in a construction accident on October 3, 2007, when the bucket of an excavator machine struck his leg. The plaintiff hired the defendants as his attorneys and commenced an action to recover damages for personal injuries, alleging common-law negligence and violations of Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1), and 241(6).

The property owner moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him, and the plaintiff cross-moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability on the Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) causes of action. In an order dated May 6, 2011, the Supreme Court granted those branches of the owner’s motion which were for summary judgment dismissing the Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) causes of action insofar as asserted against him, denied those branches of the owner’s motion which were for summary judgment dismissing the common-law negligence and Labor Law § 200 causes of action insofar as asserted against him, and denied the plaintiff’s cross motion.

Thereafter, in November 2011, the defendants moved in the personal injury action to be relieved as counsel for the plaintiff. The Supreme Court granted that motion in an order dated January 5, 2012, and in February 2012, the plaintiff, acting pro se, discontinued the personal injury action.

On April 17, 2013, the plaintiff commenced this action against the defendants to recover damages for legal malpractice. The defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, arguing that the plaintiff could not demonstrate that “he would have obtained a more favorable outcome but for’ [the defendants’] alleged negligence.” In an order dated April 27, 2017, the Supreme Court granted the defendants’ motion. The plaintiff appeals.

“In moving for summary judgment dismissing a complaint alleging legal malpractice, a defendant must present evidence establishing, prima facie, that it did not breach the duty to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession, or that the plaintiff did not sustain actual and ascertainable damages as a result of such deviation” (Mazzurco v Gordon, 173 AD3d 1003, 1003; see Panos v Eisen, 160 AD3d 759). Here, the defendants met that burden.”

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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.