Olsen v Smith 2020 NY Slip Op 06214 [187 AD3d 675] October 29, 2020
Appellate Division, First Department is a familiar trope.  Supreme Court and the Appellate Division look over a pro-se complaint and find it wanting.

“In this action for legal malpractice, plaintiff alleges that defendants’ mishandling of her defense in a Family Court proceeding brought against her by nonparty John Doe resulted in her settling a separate civil action and other disputes with Doe on unfavorable terms. The court correctly determined that the complaint is devoid of allegations from which it could be inferred that any negligence by defendants in their handling of the family court proceeding was the “but for” causation of any damages (see Dweck Law Firm v Mann, 283 AD2d 292, 293 [1st Dept 2001]; see also Phillips-Smith Specialty Retail Group II v Parker Chapin Flattau & Klimpl, 265 AD2d 208, 210 [1st Dept 1999], lv denied 94 NY2d 759 [2000]). Moreover, many of the factual allegations in the complaint, including those concerning the adjournment of a preliminary conference and defendants’ alleged wrongful withdrawal from representation, are flatly contradicted by documentary evidence in the record and therefore are not entitled to be considered as true (see Beattie v Brown & Wood, 243 AD2d 395 [1st Dept 1997]).

Plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims were properly dismissed as duplicative of the legal malpractice claim (see Courtney v McDonald, 176 AD3d 645, 646 [1st Dept 2019]).

We have considered plaintiff’s remaining arguments and find them unavailing. Concur—Renwick, J.P., Gesmer, Kern, Singh, JJ.”

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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.