Jewell Law, PLLC v Ruci  2020 NY Slip Op 33648(U) November 3, 2020
Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 655702/2019
Judge: Arthur F. Engoron displays some unique inductive reasoning, and some conventional legal reasoning.  Breach of Fiducary duty is dismissed in an unconventional matter.  Legal malpractice is more conventionally decided.

“This Court finds that the breach of fiduciary duty claim is duplicative of the legal malpractice claim as they seek identical relief, namely, damages in an amount to be determined at trial, plus interest and costs. Alphas v Smith, 147 AD3d 557, 559 (!81 Dept 2017) (breach of fiduciary duty claim was duplicative of malpractice claim as it sought similar damages). Furthermore, the actions of which Ruci complained are not within what this Court considers to be typical breach of fiduciary duty claims. Ruci’s position proves too much; it would mean that every malpractice claim would also allow a breach of fiduciary duty claim, which is not the law. ”

“Jewell claims that Ruci has failed adequately to plead legal malpractice, specifically, that Ruci has failed to allege “but for” causation, because any allegation that the court in the Underlying Action would have granted unsupervised visitation while a criminal court order of protection was in effect is impermissible speculation. That is incorrect. Here, Ruci alleges that Jewell: failed to file an emergency Order to Show Cause to commence the Underlying Action, which Ruci alleges would have expedited the Underlying Action and lessened the time missed between Ruci and his child; failed to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus, as directed by Ruci; improperly interfered with Ruci’s criminal case by pressuring Ruci to do certain things despite the fact that Jewell was not
retained to represent him in that proceeding; failed to effectuate proper and timely service in the Underlying Action prior to the initial court date, which increased the time missed between Ruci and his child; failed to secure unsupervised parenting time for Ruci at two court dates, which increased the time missed between Ruci and his child; filed frivolous Orders to Show Cause; improperly advised Ruci that it might be possible for him to take his child out of the country; and
asserted to the referee in the Underlying Action that Jewell was using electronic filing when no such electronic filing system was available in Queens County Family Court at that time. Clearly, Ruci has pleaded that but for Jewell’s actions and/or inactions in the Underlying Action, Ruci
would have been reunited with his child earlier than he was. Also, Ruci has adequately pleaded that he was denied visitation time, be it supervised or unsupervised. “

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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.