The Statute of limitations is an embodiment of a social policy which, in essence keeps the world turning.  Old, stale claims have an expiration date, and little opportunity exists to keep them alive.  Even continuous representation, in the legal malpractice setting, has significant limits.  Mehra v Morrison Cohen LLP  2020 NY Slip Op 33234(U) October 2, 2020
Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 159868/2019 Judge: O. Peter Sherwood is an example of the statute in play in a commercial setting.

“Plaintiffs assert claims for:
1) Malpractice against all defendants, as defendants failed to exercise the required degree of care in drafting the Holding operating agreement to protect Mehra’s voting and control rights, and possibly also his economic rights.
2) Breach of fiduciary duty against all defendants, for recommending a change to the Holding operating agreement which favored Teller over Mehra and for advising Teller on how to deprive Mehra of his rights to the business. ”

“Defendants argue that, since almost all of the allegations of their malpractice were for events in or before 2014, the only conduct alleged within the three-year statute of limitations is their participation in the 2016 operating agreement revisions, which is alleged only upon information and belief. Invoices subpoenaed from EOS show legal services relating to the operating agreement were performed only by Allen & Overy, not defendants (Memo, NYSCEF Doc. No. 17, at 8-9). Accordingly, defendants argue any claims related to their work in 2014 is barred by the statute of limitations or superseded by the intervening counsel by Allen & Overy in 2016. Even if the Firm did work on the 2016 revisions, the provisions at issue here were in the 2014 originals, meaning that the 2016 work (if there was any) was not the proximate cause of plaintiffs’ injuries. ”

“However, plaintiffs have not alleged damages from the alleged 2016 revision work by the defendants. Plaintiffs effectively allege defendants worked on the revisions and failed to correct the alleged 2014 malpractice. However, defendants allege they were injured by the “loss of voting power and control over business operations” (Opp at 20), which occurred when the operating  agreements were signed in 2014. Plaintiffs also note that “[h]ad Defendants exercised the appropriate degree of care in implementing their clients’ request for an equal partnership, [the injuries] could not have happened” (id. at 10). Accordingly, the malpractice claim accrued in 2014. As far as plaintiffs allege the statute of limitations was tolled by the continuous
representation doctrine, they have not alleged continuous representation. “The continuous representation doctrine . . . recognizes that a person seeking professional assistance has a right to
repose confidence in the professional’s ability and good faith, and realistically cannot be expected to question and assess the techniques employed or the manner in which the services are rendered. The doctrine also appreciates the client’s dilemma if required to sue the attorney while the latter’s representation on the matter at issue is ongoing (Shumsky v Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164, 167 [2001]
[internal citations omitted]). “Application of the continuous representation . . . doctrine is nonetheless generally limited to the course of representation concerning a specific legal matter . .
. . Instead, in the context of a legal malpractice action, the continuous representation doctrine tolls he Statute of Limitations only where the continuing representation pertains specifically to the matter in which the attorney committed the alleged malpractice (id. at 168 [internal citations omitted]). Plaintiffs have not alleged continuous representation, but two instances of representation. They have not alleged representation on this matter was continuous from 2014
through 2016. Accordingly, the malpractice claim is barred by the statute of limitations and fails as untimely. “

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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.