Volpe v Munoz & Assoc., LLC  2021 NY Slip Op 00516 Decided on January 28, 2021 Appellate Division, First Department gives a bullet point review of how this case failed:

“The complaint fails to state a cause of action for legal malpractice. First, it does not allege an attorney-client relationship between the attorneys and plaintiff. Although there was no written retainer agreement, the parties’ conduct makes clear that the attorneys performed services solely for the LLC that was formed by plaintiff and defendant Joseph Cohen (see Wei Cheng Chang v Pi, 288 AD2d 378 [2d Dept 2001], lv denied 99 NY2d 501 [2001]).

The complaint also fails to state a derivative malpractice claim because it does not allege that an attorney-client relationship existed between the attorneys and the LLC at the relevant time. Under the terms of the LLC’s operating agreement, the LLC dissolved upon the expiration of its consulting agreement with nonparty Brielle, Inc., on April 30, 2018. Thus, there was no client to which the attorneys could owe a duty in October 2018, when they represented Cohen and his new business entity.

Second, plaintiffs’ allegations of legal malpractice consist solely of claimed violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which do not alone support a malpractice claim (Shapiro v McNeill, 92 NY2d 91, 97 [1998]).

Third, whether plaintiff would have obtained further business from Brielle was entirely within Brielle’s discretion, thus any causational link between the alleged malpractice and plaintiff’s alleged loss is wholly speculative (see Bua v Purcell & Ingrao, P.C., 99 AD3d 843, 848 [2d Dept 2012], lv denied 20 NY3d 857 [2013]).

The complaint also fails to state a cause of action for aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, because plaintiffs fail to allege that the attorneys did anything more than prepare legal agreements for Cohen (Art Capital Group, LLC v Neuhaus, 70 AD3d 605 [1st Dept 2010]).”

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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.