A line of legal malpractice cases in New York, arising primarilly out of matrimonial underlying matters have found that if the client positively answers an allocution question of whether the client is satisfied with the attorneys’work, then a later legal malpractice case is forfeit.  Here in Stennett v Goldberg & Cohn, LLP   2020 NY Slip Op 33901(U) November 23, 2020 Supreme Court, Kings County Docket Number: 511918/2018 Judge: Pamela L. Fisher highlihghts the history of this doctrine.

“The court declines to dismiss plaintiffs cause of action for legal malpractice pursuant to CPLR § 321 l(a)(l), on the basis of plaintiffs llocution under oath, because New York State courts have not taken a consistent position on whether an allocution that a client was satisfied with the services of his/her attorney precludes a client from bringing a claim for legal malpractice (See Boone v. Bender, 74 A.D.3d 1111, 1113 [2d. Dept. 2010] (granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the “open-court stipulation of settlement established
that the plaintiff was satisfied with the defendants’ representation of her”); Harvey v. Greenberg, 2009 NY Slip Op. 32625(U) [Sup Ct, NY County 2009] (granting motion to dismiss); ajf’d 82 A.D.3d 683, 683 [1st Dept. 2011]; Katebi v. Fink, 51A.D.3d424, 425 [l st Dept. 2008] (granting motion to dismiss); But see Cruciata v. Mainiero, 31 A.D.3d 306, 306 [1st Dept. 2006] (reversing dismissal under CPLR § 321 l(a)(l) “[d]espite the detailed on-the-record settlement of plaintiffs matrimonial action,” on the
grounds that “the former husband’s pension and other assets were overlooked in arriving at the stipulation”); Gad v. Sherman, 160 A.D.3d 622, 623 [2d. Dept. 2018] (affirming trial’s court’s order denying dismissal of complaint pursuant to CPLR § 321 l(a)(l) on the grounds that “the documentary evidence submitted by the defendant, consisting of the transcript of the April 2014 court appearance, failed to utterly refute the plaintiff’s allegations of malpractice”)). “

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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.